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Heavy rainfall from the storm of December 14-16, 1999 triggered thousands of landslides on steep slopes of the Sierra de Avila north of Caracas, Venezuela. In addition to landslides, heavy rainfall caused flooding and massive debris flows that damaged coastal communities in the State of Vargas along the Caribbean Sea. Examination of the rainfall pattern obtained from the GOES-8 satellite showed that the pattern of damage was generally consistent with the area of heaviest rainfall. Field observations of the severely affected drainage basins and historical records indicate that previous flooding and massive debris-flow events of similar magnitude to that of December 1999 have occurred throughout this region. The volume of debris-flow deposits and the large boulders that the flows transported qualifies the 1999 event amongst the largest historical rainfall-induced debris flows documented worldwide.
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Debris-flow and flooding hazards associated with the December 1999 storm in coastal Venezuela and strategies for mitigation