The ABC Evening News tonight led with a story about the magnitude 5.1 earthquake that hit the Los Angeles basin tonight that was widely felt with modest damage. The next story reported on the continued search for victims in the Oso, Washington landslide. [Right, Oso landslide. Credit, Dave Norman, State Geologist, Washington Dept. of Natural Resources] Then, still in the first half of the news, they showed a sinkhole in Michigan as the start of a quick assessment of sinkholes nationwide.
Three compelling geologic hazards stories on the national news in less than 15 minutes.
The new issue of Time magazine (April 7) has a two-page aerial photo of the Washington landslide and companion article subtitled, "A deadly disaster in Washington drives home the danger posed by landslides." They say that "landslides are the most widespread natural hazard - all 50 states face at least some risk." Landslides kill 25+ Americans each year on average and cause $1-2 billion in damage according to Time.
We can't agree more. Calls for national landslide hazards assessments have been made for the past decades without much action. The issues and solutions are pretty much unchanged. Action plans sit on shelves ready to be implemented.
Is the Oso slide the "teachable moment" we need or as the news attention wanes, will we go back to business as normal?