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Building resilience against landslides

  • Published
    23rd Aug, 2023


The Himachal Pradesh landslides highlight Himalayan ecosystem vulnerabilities. This crisis calls for a collaboration among the Himalayan states for disaster management and sustainable development.

Challenges of the Himalayan Ecosystem:

  • Fragile Ecosystem: The Himalayas, a young and dynamic mountain range, face vulnerability due to tectonic activities, erosion, weathering, and climatic events like heavy precipitation.
  • Climate-Induced Hazards: Increasing avalanches, landslides, floods, and glacial lake outbursts are worsened by freezing/thawing and heavy rain/snow, endangering the region.
  • Human Impact: Anthropogenic activities exacerbate stress on the Himalayas, necessitating resilience-building against natural and human-induced hazards.

Resilience Measures and Early Warning:

  • Technological Solutions: Implementing sensor networks, real-time monitoring, and AI/ML-based Early Warning Systems (EWS) can aid in anticipating and managing geo-hazards.
  • Climate Change Impact: Glacial changes, river systems, and biodiversity shifts due to climate change increase the susceptibility of Himalayan states to disasters.
  • Risk Assessment: Creating vulnerability maps based on slope factors, hydrology, and geological conditions can categorize regions as most, moderately, or least vulnerable, aiding targeted strategies.

Integrated Approach for Sustainable Development:

  • Subsurface Stresses: Plate convergence has led to earthquakes and rock movements, necessitating landslide warning systems using rainfall thresholds and advanced monitoring tools.
  • Collaborative Governance: Establishing a Council of Himalayan States can pool resources to assess natural processes, climate impacts, and disaster management strategies.
  • Balanced Development: Utilizing the region's resources for socioeconomic growth requires ecological sustainability, considering town planning, infrastructure, and adherence to building codes.
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