Vargas tragedy

Vargas Tragedy

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Vargas tragedy

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Description:
The 1999 Vargas tragedy was a disaster that struck the Vargas State of Venezuela in December 1999, when the torrential rains and the flash floods and debris flows that followed on 14–16 December killed tens of thousands of people, destroyed thousands of homes, and led to the complete collapse of the state's infrastructure. According to relief workers, the neighborhood of Los Corales was buried under three meters (9.8 feet) of mud and a high percentage of homes were simply swept away to the ocean. Whole towns like Cerro Grande and Carmen de Uria completely disappeared. As much as 10% of the population of Vargas perished during this event.

Background

The coastal area of Vargas has long been subject to mudslides and flooding: geologically similar catastrophes occurred with regularity. The most recent major flood was in 1951, however that event did not cause as much damage. The state had experienced a lot of population growth and development since the previous major disaster in 1951, thus increasing the toll of casualties.

Previous events

On average since the 17th century, at least two large-magnitude debris flow, landslide, or flood events have occurred each century within the modern boundaries of Vargas State. Recorded events occurred in...
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