Monday, August 4, 2008

Landslide Awareness Program - Aug2008

If at all some meaningful work has to be done in landslide prevention, generation of awareness amongst us, NGOs and the govt will play a key role. To that extent STH has done quite a few programs amongst a variety of people and at several places in the district.
In Jan2008, 9 post -grad (diploma) Disaster Management students of North Bengal Univ (NBU) accompanied by head of Dept Dr Sanjay Rana had visited Kalimpong for a preliminary insight into the landslide problem here (slide1) .
Two days ago, three of the students came back to complete their project work on landslides (slide 2).
I place some of their observations below:-

a) At Bhalukhop, extensive stone quarrying had been done at the toe of a hill along a road construction site. This could have serious consequences in a vulnerable, landslide prone area.

b) At Alaichikhop, they were happy to see community action in landslide prevention, where the local community had themselves taken up the preventive role since there was no action from the Govt/Municipality (please refer blog of 20Jun2008)

c) Soureni village (slide3) was a lost case. There was no way the rockslides could be prevented as such probably the only solution was relocation of the village to a safer area.

d) What they were made acutely aware of was the fact that nothing had been done by way of landslide prevention and that the villagers hoped that they ie the students could do something regarding this.


Comment by praful rao

I cannot agree with their observations more:-

a) As stated in an earlier blog, one of the main causes of landslides in Nepal (and obviously in Darjeeling district) are improper construction of roads. At Bhalukhop, it is nothing short of suicide to be quarrying at the base of a hill in a vulnerable, landslide prone area.

b) I too have felt that sense of helplessness when desperate people beckon you to their homes, show you their cracked and damaged houses in the hope that something will be done. I have also watched the hope slowly turn into despair, disillusionment and even anger when after visiting the affected area many times with journalists/ students/ engineers and so on, nothing has been done by way of landslide prevention for the months that have elapsed since Sep07.

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