Building resilience against landslides
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.