Natural Hazards

, Volume 34, Issue 2, pp 199–216 | Cite as

A Landslide Hazard Assessment and Vulnerability Appraisal Procedure: Vunguvungu/Banga Catchment, Northern Malawi

  • G. G. Msilimba
  • P. J. Holmes


Landslides are a common phenomenon in parts of Malawi. A number of historical landslides have been documented, and are summarised here. This paper examines the occurrence of landslides in the Rumphi district of northern Malawi, concentrating on the catchment of the Vunguvungu and Banga rivers. This is an area of deeply weathered biotitic gneiss and muscovite schist, with deep, sandy soils, comparatively steep slopes and a rainfall in excess of 1,500 mm per annum. These factors, in association with changing land use patterns, have contributed to the landslide vulnerability of the area. The investigation focuses, as a case study, on the Banga landslide of 1997 for which data are available, and which occurred after unseasonal rain. A unique combination of natural and human induced factors is proposed in explaining the occurrence of landslides. The paper concludes by proposing an elementary vulnerability appraisal procedure for the catchment and by discussing the potential risk of landslides in this area.


hazard landslide Malawi slopes vulnerability appraisal catchment 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Bowles, J.E. 1979Physical and Geotechnical Properties of SoilsMcGraw-HillLondon478Google Scholar
  2. Bryant, E.A. 1991Natural HazardsCambridgeCambridge294Google Scholar
  3. Cheyo, D. R.: 1999, Geohazards around the Michesi and Zomba areas, In: Proceedings of the Symposium on Natural Geological Hazards in southern Malawi, 27th–28th July, pp. 30–42. Google Scholar
  4. Chikusa, C.M. 1985The Phenomenon of Napolo in Zomba with Reference to the 1985 Ntonya-Ulumba EventGeological Survey DepartmentZomba7Google Scholar
  5. Chipili, E.E., Mshali, R. 1989A Report on Nyambilo Landslide, Nsanje DistricGeological Survey DepartmentZomba6Google Scholar
  6. Dolozi, M.B., Zefe, K. 1992The Manyani hill landslide in north eastern Kasungu, MalawiNational Papers of the Malawi Department of Antiquities152Google Scholar
  7. Finlayson, B., Statham, I. 1980Hillslope AnalysisButterworthsLondon230Google Scholar
  8. GOM: 1988, Soil Laboratory Analysis Manual, Bvumbe, 84 p. Google Scholar
  9. GOM: 2001, Rainfall and Temperature Data Report, Chileka, 4 p. Google Scholar
  10. Gondwe, P. C. and Govati, C. C.: 1992, The Stability Status of Michesi Mountain,Unpublished Report, Geological Survey Department, Zomba, 25 p. Google Scholar
  11. Kemp, J. 1975The Geology of the Uzumara AreaGeological Survey DepartmentZomba56Google Scholar
  12. Linceham, I. 1972Climate; RainfallAgnew, S.Stubbs, G. eds. Malawi in MapsUniversity of LondonLondon32Google Scholar
  13. Manda, B. W. C.: 1999, Geological hazards in southern Malawi, an historical overview. In: Proceedings of the Symposium on Natural Geological Hazards in Southern Malawi, 27th–28th July, pp. 9–19. Google Scholar
  14. Marshall, T.J., Holmes, J.W. 1988Soil PhysicsCambridgeNew York345Google Scholar
  15. Msilimba, G. G. A.: 2002, Landslide Geohazard Assessment of the Vunguvungu/Banga Catchment Area in Rumphi District, Unpublished MSc dissertation, University of Malawi, 86 p.Google Scholar
  16. Mwenelupembe, J.: 1999, Debris flow in Zomba and Michesi mountain slopes; their causes, mitigation and return period, Proceedings of the Symposium on Natural Geological Hazards in Southern Malawi, 27th–28th July, pp. 40–47.Google Scholar
  17. Non-Affiliated Soil Analysis Working Committee: 1990, Handbook of Standard Soil Testing Methods for Advisory Purposes , Pretoria, Soil Science Society, 145 p. Google Scholar
  18. Poschinger, A., Cheyo, D.R., Mwenelupembe, J. 1998Geohazards in the Michesi and Zomba mountain areas in MalawiTechnical Cooperation Report96116Google Scholar
  19. Punmia, B.C. 1976Introductory Soil MechanicsStandard HouseDelhi418Google Scholar
  20. Selby, M.J. 1993Hillslope Materials and ProcessesOxford University PressOxford451Google Scholar
  21. Summerfield, M.E. 1991Global GeomorphologyBurnt MillLongman537Google Scholar
  22. Young, A.: 1972, Soils, In: Malawi in Maps, Zomba, p. 36.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Science, Chancellor CollegeUniversity of MalawiZombaMalawi
  2. 2.Department of Chancellor CollegeUniversity of the Free StateBloemfonteinSouth Africa

Personalised recommendations