Unsafe slopes threaten 400 schools, survey shows

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 25 November, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 25 November, 1998, 12:00am

Nearly 400 schools are threatened by dangerous slopes, a report shows.

They would cost about $800 million to repair, said the Geotechnical Engineering Office, which is investigating the condition of hillsides and has signed a $91 million contract with a firm to repair 19 slopes.

But engineers said parents need not worry about their children being crushed in an avalanche of mud.

The slopes most likely to collapse were repaired during the 1970s and 1980s, said landslip preventive branch engineer Tang Moon-cheung.

A survey of 568 high-risk slopes near 1,900 schools was released yesterday. It showed 395 slopes - 247 on private land and 147 government-owned - were found to be substandard.

Private owners will be ordered to investigate the problem within four months and develop a safety plan.

'If we find anything that could be risky, we will bring it to the attention of principals,' Mr Tang said.

Schools were usually advised not to use playgrounds at risk or classrooms during rainy periods, he said. The survey was part of a programme that was introduced in 1995 to identify and repair dangerous slopes after slips killed several people.

Since April 1995, 353 government slopes of an estimated 900 that required repairing have been upgraded.