Action to prevent landslides has been extended by 10 years as engineers try to deal with public apathy over slope maintenance. The Geotechnical Engineering Office (GEO) accelerated its landslip preventive measures programme in 1995, scheduling it to end in March 2000. But it will be continued at a faster pace until at least 2010, according to its latest report. 'The target is to complete the upgrading works for another 2,500 substandard Government slopes and to complete the detailed studies for another 3,000 private slopes by the year 2010,' the office said in its quarterly brief. 'As before, consultants will be employed in addition to deployment of in-house staff resources to undertake the task.' A total of 10,840 slopes were identified 20 years ago, and most have now been checked and classified by engineers. But a new catalogue started in July 1994 has already registered 54,685 slopes not included in the previous list which now need to be checked. The GEO, part of the Civil Engineering Department, carries out some slope upgrading works on behalf of other Government departments, while the Buildings Department issues notices to private owners. But GEO engineer Jerry Ho Leung-ping conceded that there seemed to be less public impetus to get slopes fixed this year when the tragedies that landslides can cause are in the back, not the front, of people's minds. Five people were killed when a slope gave way in Kwun Lung Lau in July 1994, the biggest disaster in recent years, and last year a grandmother died in a mudslide at the Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery near Sha Tin. 'We find that a disaster will arouse people to do more. This year, because we have had a dry year, we are afraid people's awareness will drop,' Mr Ho said.