Sunday, March 31, 2013

The first landslide report of 2013 ie (01/2013)

Even as Sikkim Express reported training being conducted in Disaster Management in North Sikkim (see above), the Telegraph of 30 Mar2013, reported the first landslides in this region for the year 2013, luckily there were no fatalities.
An excerpt of the report from the Telegraph of 30Mar2013 is placed below :-

Siliguri, March 29: Two rain-triggered landslides in Sikkim’s North district today stranded 300-350 tourists going from Gangtok to Lachen and Lachung, both over 90km from the state’s capital.
There are no reports of deaths. The subsidence happened between 6pm and 6.30pm, according to Border Roads Organisation (BRO) sources. The roads from Chungthang to Lachen and Lachung both got blocked.
There are reports of tourists stuck on both sides. The BRO sources said no road repair work could be started in the evening as the rain has continued unabated."

It is well known that we live in an area where the landslide fatalities are the highest in the world  and that the Geological Survey of India has categorized us in the most landslide prone zones in the country (see below).

One of our endeavors in STH is to catalogue and maintain a record of this disaster form so that we may study its causes and help us live with this hazard in the best way possible.

Praful Rao,

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Our 74rth one....

Ever since its inception in Sep2007, one of the primary roles of STH has been to raise awareness about landslides and the fragility of the mountain environment.
In so doing we have assisted various media organizations in making 3 documentary films on landslides and also participated or organized many awareness workshops and seminars on disasters and landslides, all over the country and at various levels starting from the grass roots to the national.
On 22Mar2013, we did our 74rth awareness program at the Kalimpong Child Development Centre which was attended by more than 80 parents and children from villages on the western face of Kalimpong and the program was well received.
I am glad to say that we have done so with very little funding but lots of goodwill and help from fellow NGOs, Government organizations and eminent scientists and resource persons who have shared their knowledge in our platforms without charging a dime.
Our entire work in this regard has been well documented in this blog and we hope to continue this important task with gusto in the future.

Praful Rao

Friday, March 22, 2013

Reporting an extreme event (21March2013) : More rain in 90mins than the monthly rainfall of March.

Mar - May is technically the pre-monsoon season in India where we do expect thunderstorms associated with Cb activity and in Darjeeling-Sikkim we have been having sporadic rainfall along with thunder and lightning this month.
On 21Mar2013, however, the fast moving western disturbance seen in the IR image above, dumped 37mm of rain and lots of hail in approx 90 mins in Kalimpong.
Considering that the average monthly rainfall (taking data of 5yrs from here) for Darjeeling district for the month of March is 26mm, it seems incredible that yesterday between 3.00-4.30pm  we had more rain than the monthly average rainfall!
My deepest concern and fear in all this is whether we are prepared to face such extreme events which unfortunately becoming more and more frequent.

Praful Rao