Natural Hazards

, Volume 73, Issue 2, pp 237–258 | Cite as

The use of press data in the development of a database for rainfall-induced landslides in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, 1980–2005

Original Paper


The capital city of Honduras, Tegucigalpa, suffers from the occurrence of destructive landslides on a yearly basis. During the rainy season, damages to infrastructure as well as injuries, casualties and homeless individuals resulting from landslides are reported in the press. This paper presents the development of a database for rainfall-induced landslides for the period 1980–2005, based on the news reported by two local newspapers. The editions comprehended during the study period have been scrutinized, and articles focusing on landslides, tropical storms, hurricanes, floods and vulnerability of the city have been collected. The interpretation of these archives has allowed the compilation of valuable data of approximately 400 landslides. The analyses of monthly and annual precipitation during the study period show how extreme rainfall events like Hurricane Mitch in October of 1998 have significantly contributed to the initiation of landslides. In addition, the assessment of the slums and neighborhoods affected by landslides during the study period reveals an evident link between the social and physical vulnerability of Tegucigalpa. In order to estimate the reliability of this press-based database, the set of landslides that have been reported as a result of Hurricane Mitch in the press archives has been compared with two inventories based on the interpretation of aerial photographs taken in 1999 and 2001. It is shown that the analysis of the landslide damage left after the hurricane can be enriched with the detailed temporal data provided in the archives and the precise location of these events determined by the aerial photographs. Despite the difficulties faced in the compilation of this database, a good comprehension of the temporal and spatial distribution of landslides in Tegucigalpa has been achieved.


Historical data Rainfall-induced landslides Landslide database Tegucigalpa Hurricane Mitch Vulnerability 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Engineering SciencesUppsala UniversityUppsalaSweden
  2. 2.School of Civil EngineeringNational Autonomous University of HondurasTegucigalpaHonduras

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