Saturday, April 27, 2019

Cyclone 'FANI' - the first cyclone of 2019 to hit Indian Coast (track from JTWC -27Apr2019)

TRACK OF CYCLONE 'FANI' FROM FROM JTWC
STH posts alerts/tracks of relevant storms and extreme weather which will affect the Darjeeling - Sikkim Himalayas directly on the 'HAZARD ALERT (HA)' What's APP group so as to provide EW to communities and people who would be impacted.
HA was formed by STH two monsoons ago and today with 183 members many of whom are from the local media, NGOs and govt officials, we hope the EW message in the age of social media can reach a large number of people in time so that lives will be saved.
We will, however ALSO post info and pertinent data regarding significant storms so as to maintain a record of extreme events affecting this region.

Update as on 03May2019

Last track and warning (No 27) from JTWC- 04MAy2019
Bullet points on Extremely Severe Cyclonic Storm (ESCS) 'FANI':
  • First Cyclone in Bay of Bengal in 2019. Time span from 27Apr2019 till 04May2019.
  • Was the strongest cyclone in the Bay in 20yrs. One million evacuated in Odisha.
  • Airports were shut down and trains cancelled and both PM Modi and CM of Bengal monitored FANI closely from control rooms.
  • Became a super-typhoon for a short duration with wind speeds touching 300kmph and made landfall near Puri in the early morning of 03May with windspeeds of 200kmph.
    Extensive damage in Odisha
  • However, minimal damage in W Bengal which was also along the track of FANI.
  • It quickly weakened after landfall and rainfall in Kolkata was much less than expected.
  • Fatalities remained minimal and was less than 10
  • The effect of FANI in Darjeeling-Sikkim was mild with light rain (Kalimpong -25mm) and hardly any change in wind speeds.
  • The storm weakened and moved towards the North Eastern states where wind velocities again reached 100kmph. Considerable damage was reported in Meghalaya
  • By 05May, the storm had completely dissipated.
 



Praful Rao,
Kalimpong district,

Darjeeling - Sikkim Himalaya

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

STH activities : Raising awareness in Kalimpong on the menace of plastic waste (08Apr2019)

STH is a part of the Darjeeling Himalaya Initiative which in turn is the W Bengal state chapter of IMI

Praful Rao
Kalimpong district,
Darjeeling - Sikkim Himalaya






Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Rainfall data of Feb2019 for the Darjeeling-Sikkim Himalaya

Regret Darjeeling rainfall data was not available.

Praful Rao
Kalimpong district
Darjeeling-Sikkim Himalaya


Wednesday, March 20, 2019

STH activity : Participating in CASA's Program on 'Climate Change and Impact on Lives and Livelihoods' :19Mar2019 (Darjeeling)





Major issues highlighted:
·       Critical water security problems in the entire Dooars and mountain regions.
·       Food Security in the mountains almost non-existent with the rural youth not interested in farming due to low yield, crop disease, water shortage, human- wildlife conflict in the backdrop of climate change.
·       Total focus on cash crops in mountain agriculture has led to a decline in cultivation of traditional crops such as millet, barley and even vegetables.
·       Decline in cash crops in the mountains: traditional crops such as ginger, oranges and even cardamom have almost disappeared with newer crops such as kiwi fruit, coffee likely to replace them. The moot question is when? –with the most important functionaries ie the relevant government departments being obsessed with other issues. The only viable cash crop in the mountains being broomsticks today.
·       While MNREGA project generates some employment for families, it has totally failed in promoting skills among the rural hill folk.
·       Tea production and the quality of tea has declined both in the Dooars and Darjeeling hills due to migration, triggered by low wages and tea garden companies slowly withdrawing benefits such as uniforms, homesteads, subsidized kerosene and power bills.
·       Large scale unemployment in the Dooars belt leading again to migration and human trafficking by organized gangs.
·       Regular flooding with no little or no warning in the Alipur Duar region due to rain in the mountains of  Bhutan which charges the Torsa and other rivers quickly and suddenly.
·       Rampant child labour in the Dooars with children working in factories in Bhutan on very low wages (Rs 50/day).
·       Extreme and erratic rainfall and temperatures compounding problems.
·       Emerging and powerful role of the water vendor in Darjeeling town in a scenario where the burgeoning population, declining rainfall has resulted in demand for water far outstripping supply. Little or no heed however, being paid to the quality of water being supplied.
·       Child –centric DRR

Praful Rao,
Kalimpong district,
Darjeeling-Sikkim Himalaya




Sunday, February 24, 2019

Rainfall data of Darjeeling -Sikkim Jan 2019


Jan 2019 rain (in mm)
Darjeeling : NIL
Kalimpong : NIL

Kurseong : NIL
North Sikkim: 19mm



Praful Rao,
Kalimpong district,
Darjeeling Sikkim Himalaya


Friday, February 22, 2019

Project LANDSLIP meeting in Darjeeling (19 - 21Feb2019)

With the completion of the project approx 2 years from now, we hope Darjeeling will have a working EW system for heavy rain and landslides at a regional level (rather than the many site specific sensor - based EW /landslide prediction models which have developed by IITs and Universities.)


23Feb2019 event : Visit to the Pashyor landslide in Kalimpong

 

Praful Rao
Kalimpong district
Darjeeling Sikkim Himalaya


Sunday, February 17, 2019

Winter rains and precipitation in the Darjeeling-Sikkim Himalaya (16Feb2019)


Placed above are IR images of clouding over the Darjeeling-Sikkim Himalaya of time 0530hrs and 1230hrs. The clouding is due to one of a series of WDs which has been affecting the western Himalaya first, then sweeping east towards us.
In Kalimpong there was continuous thunder and lightning from around 1330hrs till 1830hrs though the rainfall was only light. Darjeeling on the other hand was swathed in a blanket of hail. Read more here.

In this regard, I am placing the explanation to this weather event, below:

Praful Rao,
Kalimpong district,
Darjeeling Sikkim Himalaya

Event of Note: Project Landslip Annual Meeting in Darjeeling - 19 to 21Feb2019

Physical scientists, engineers and social scientists from nine organisations in the UK, Italy and India from the UK NERC/DFID funded project LANDSLIP will be in Darjeeling from 19-21 February for their annual consortium meeting. LANDSLIP.
LANDSLIP (LANDSLIde multi-hazard assessment, Preparedness and early warning in South Asia) is now beginning its third year, is developing landslide hazard assessment and a prototype early warning systems in two study areas (Darjeeling/East Sikkim and Nilgiris) including the best means of disseminating this information to those who need it in India. Some of the methodologies developed through this project will be replicable to the landslide-prone areas elsewhere in India and South Asia.
The project consortium of 34 scientists and engineers is co-led by Dr Helen Reeves from the British Geological Survey (BGS) and Professor Bruce Malamud from King’s College London (KCL) with the other project partners from the Amrita University, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (Research Institute for Geo-Hydrological Protection), the Geological Survey of India (GSI), Newcastle University, UK Met Office, Practical Action Consulting India and Practical Action Consulting UK.
Around 24 of the LANDSLIP experts from India, UK and Italy will be in Darjeeling this week for an internal conference meeting, along with a subset of the group meeting key Darjeeling district disaster management officers.
To read more about this project please visit: www.landslip.org

Praful Rao
Kalimpong district,
Darjeeling Sikkim Himalaya

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Our activities in 2018

We regret not being able to publish these accounts of our activities in time. As explained elsewhere in the blog, it was only because we, today use other social media platforms which reach out more effectively and expeditiously to the community at large.

While updating our activities in 2018, I am glad to inform you that we have also updated  & published RAINFALL RECORDS for some major towns in the Darjeeling-Sikkim for the whole of 2018. Please feel free to use all data/photos in this blog freely and without asking for our consent.

With regard to rainfall, quite clearly the Darjeeling-Sikkim Himalaya (except for North Sikkim) went deficient in rainfall in 2018 and as such we had no major landslide activity in this region. Hence, there is no reference to occurrence of fresh landslides in 2018 in this blog.


Praful Rao
Kalimpong district,
Darjeeling Sikkim Himalaya

SaveTheHills activity 01/02Feb2019 - Kalimpong District Environment Fair


Praful Rao
Kalimpong district

Darjeeling Sikkim Himalaya

SaveTheHills activity Dec2018-Jan2019

Praful Rao
Kalimpong district,

Darjeeling-Sikkim Himalaya

SaveTheHills activity 11Dec2018: Celebrating International Mountain Day at Town Hall, Kalimpong

International Mountain Day is an annual event of Darjeeling Himalaya Initiative (state chapter of IMI)
STH is an active member of DHI



Praful Rao,
Kalimpong district
Darjeeling-Sikkim Himalaya

SaveTheHills Activities Sep-Oct2018


Praful Rao,
Kalimpong district,
Darjeeling-Sikkim Himalaya

SaveTheHills activities Jul-Aug2018


Praful Rao
Kalimpong district,
Darjeeling-Sikkim Himalaya

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

SaveTheHills (STH) activities in May 2018 - The Himalayan Cleanup (26May2018)

Both Earth Day (22April) and World Environment Day (05Jun) had 'PLASTIC POLLUTION' more specifically targeting single use plastics as its theme in 2018 and in keeping with this Darjeeling Himalaya Initiative (DHI) launched its own anti- plastic/awareness campaign right across the Himalayas with the support of the Integrated Mountain Initiative (IMI).
The idea was to quantify and categorize the humongous quantities of plastic littering our mountains and thereby spread awareness and also make the multinational food/beverage companies sit up and take notice.
At Kalimpong, SaveTheHills (which a part of DHI), along with Dr PT Bhutia, a close friend and with help of the local Forest  authorities also took part in a 2 day effort in this regard. Images of the event are posted below:
Praful Rao
Kalimpong district,
Darjeeling Sikkim Himalaya

STH activities in May 2018 (Call of the Mountains -a DHI event in Darjeeling) -11May2018


Press coverage of the Seminar is here
Darjeeling Himalaya Initiative (DHI) is the West Bengal state chapter of IMI and 'Call of the Mountains' is an annual event of DHI.
SaveTheHills is a part of DHI along with several other NGOs of Darjeeling and Gangtok

Praful Rao
Kalimpong district,
Darjeeling -Sikkim Himalaya


STH Activities in April 2018



In addition, the Darjeeling Himalaya Initiative which is the West Bengal state chapter of IMI were called for a meeting by the Principal Secretary (GTA) at Lal Kothi (Darjeeling) on  19April2018 to discuss the development and protection of Sandakhphu and the Singalila National Park.
SaveTheHills along with a number of Darjeeling based NGOs form the Darjeeling Himalaya Initiative.


Praful Rao,
Kalimpong district,
Darjeeling Sikkim Himalaya

Notice: STH blog resumes in Feb2019

It is with regret that I wish to announce that we were unable to continue the SaveTheHills (STH) blog after April 2018, having done so for almost 10years since STH was established in Sep2007.
The reason:-
  • In our experience, STH has found that other social media platforms are today more efficient and 'user friendly' to disburse warnings and information.
  • While blogging may have once been a wonderful tool, today STH operates a WhatsApp (WA) group called 'Hazard Alerts' (HA) which is a much more effective way of disbursing information and warnings.
  • WA along with other platforms like FaceBook reaches out to wider audiences and very quickly while the blog maybe restricted to the more serious reader and for preserving data and historical facts.
    However, since all of STH history and some useful data is published in the blog, STH will again start re-publishing the blog while apologizing for the break.

    Having completed updating rainfall records from April2018 toJan 2019 we will now record significant events which were undertaken by us and our partners in 2018 - much of which was about raising awareness on DRR and environmental issues of the region

    Praful Rao,
    Kalimpong district,
    Darjeeling - Sikkim Himalaya

Monday, February 11, 2019

Rainfall data of Darjeeling-Sikkim Himalaya (Post Monsoons 2018 and Winter 2019)

Post-Monsoon (Oct-Dec2018)
During the post -monsoon period (2018), there was an almost abrupt halt in the rains in Darjeeling-Sikkim - with the exception of North Sikkim.


Our records:


Oct 2018 rainfall

Kalimpong: 16.1mm
Mangan (North Sikkim): 157mm


Nov2018 rainfall 
Kalimpong: NIL
Mangan
(North Sikkim): 61mm

Dec 2018 rainfall 
Kalimpong: 22.8mm
Mangan (North Sikkim): 16mm


Winter (Jan-Feb2019)

Jan2019
Kalimpong: NIL
Mangan (North Sikkim):19mm


Praful Rao,
Kalimpong district,
Darjeeling-Sikkim Himalaya