Cracks measuring seven meters deep have appeared in the area around the Baku TV tower" />

80 families in Baku evacuated due to landslide risk 

Cracks measuring seven meters deep have appeared in the area around the Baku TV tower

Baku city executive authorities have decided to evacuate 390 people (80 households) due to a high risk of landslides in the area around the Baku TV tower in the Bayil neighborhood.

Most of the residents have moved to their relatives. The remainder have been offered temporary shelter in schools where they are provided with food.

The danger zone is located 200 – 250 meters southeast of the TV tower. Cracks which are seven meters deep and over one meter wide have formed there. The area has been cordoned off and is being supervised by the police. Access for journalists has been restricted.

The Turan news agency cited the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources of Azerbaijan saying that the landslide warning was triggered due to heavy rainfall and an ongoing construction project on the lower section of the hill where a vertical part of the slope was cut.  The residents of Bayil neighborhood questioned the credibility of the aforesaid statement, especially the first part, because the winter in Baku is relatively warm this year compared to previous years. There has been neither heavy rainfall nor snow so far this year.

The Cabinet of Ministers held an emergency session on Thursday to address the landslide threat issue. An emergency operations center has been set up to monitor the situation. The soil is being strengthened and piles are being driven into it as part of the landslide management activities. The Ecology Ministry officials assured the public that there is no risk to the TV tower.

The Turan news agency cited Rafik Hasanov, an executive official at the Ministry of Ecology, as saying: “The cracks in the landslide zone are one meter wide and seven meters in depth. Beacons have been installed in the landslide area which confirm the instability of the area. Active landslides pose risks to the houses located at the bottom of the slope.”

According to the Azerbaijani Academy of Sciences, 14 landslides have been reported in the Bayil zone since the mid-19th century. 
The strongest landslide was reported in March 2000 when an area with a width of 350 meters and a length of 450 meters broke away from the hillside, destroying buildings and communications.

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