Sunday, February 7, 2021

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Visit by Dr Saibal Ghosh, GHRM - GSI regarding establishment of Landslide Early Warning System in Kalimpong district (16Jan2021)

Project LANDSLIP is a consortium of experts from UK, Italy and India which is working to enhance landslide-related hazard assessment in India at regional scales (e.g. >5 km2) in two main case-study regions, Nilgiris District and Darjeeling/East Sikkim Districts, focusing on weather patterns, landscape systems, rainfall thresholds and societal factors.
In doing so LANDSLIP has developed and established a prototype of a regional LANDSLIDE EARLY WARNING SYSTEM (LEWS) in Darjeeling district and in the Nilgiris which has started functioning in an experimental manner since the monsoons of 2020.
Dr SAIBAL GHOSH, Head of GEOHAZARDS Research and Management, GSI visited Kalimpong on 16Jan2021 to brief the District Magistrate, Ms R Vimala on GSI establishing a replica of the one Darjeeling in Kalimpong:

Praful Rao
Kalimpong district
Darjeeling - Sikkim Himalaya

Monday, January 11, 2021

Dec 2020 rainfall of the region

December 2020 saw very little rain in the region:

Date: 04Dec2020            05Dec2020                06Dec2021
Gangtok 27.8mm            Gangtok 2mm            Gangtok 11mm
Mangan 11mm                Kalimpong 2mm        Mangan 4.1mm
Damthang 3mm              Darjeeling 5.2mm      Damthang 9.4mm                    
Jaldhaka 2.2mm            Jaldhaka 1mm            Gyalsing 6.2mm

Most of the region was dry.

Praful Rao
Kalimpong district
Darjeeling SIkkim Himalaya

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Mungpel: A village living on the edge (03Jan2021)

 As a part of our landslide surveys, I visited Mungpel, a small village in Pabringtar GP of Kalimpong (Block -1) on 03Jan2021. The village consists of 30 odd houses who are almost entirely of members of Limbu ethnic group. The sombre fact is that of these homes, approximately 10-15 overlook and are in the proximity of huge landslide.

We had carried out a landslide survey in this area in April 2011 and a map of the area from that survey is placed below:
Landslide history
As per locals, the landslide was insignificant until 2018 after which it has grown to its present size. This whole area receives very heavy rainfall and is thrashed by intense thunderstorms during the pre-monsoons but it is a pity there are no rainfall data from this place to relate the landslide activity.
However, the locals clearly said most of the damage was done during the monsoons of 2020 especially around end of Jun2020.
Coordinates of Mungpel Landslide:
N 26.95696° E088.54993°

At the base of the this hill there is a fairly big Durung khola (river) and a wonderful flat piece of land where the villagers do their agriculture and farming. As per the villagers the landslide was not due to toe erosion by the river and was caused by the inherent geology and heavy rain.
Yet another major landslide in the lower Sherwani area, nudges the Mungpel landslide and we have yet to survey that area.

As I have mentioned 3 families have already relocated to upper regions but some 10 other families also may suffer a similar fate - these monstrous landslides are seem impossible to control without serious study and funding.

Praful Rao
Kalimpong district
Darjeeling -Sikkim Himalaya

STH featured in IMPRII's ' CITY CONVERSATIONS' with Dr Andrew Rumbach talking on 'Urban Development and Enviromental Risk in the Eastern Himalayas' -16Dec2020

Prof Andrew Rumbach Assoc Prof of Texas A & M University has been a friend of STH for a long time and has visited the region at least 8 times over the years.
He was interviewed live on IMPRII's 'City Conversations' program on 16Dec2020 and the program is available on Youtube here.
STH has been featured in his talk in the interview.

Praful Rao
Kalimpong district
Darjeeling-Sikkim Himalaya

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

STH activities: IMI's Sustainable Mountain Development Summit (SMDS) IX and the Disaster Risk Reduction Session

The Sustainable Mountain Development Summit (SMDS) is one of the flagship programs of IMI and SMDS IX along with the Youth Summit kicked off from Uttarakhand on 08Dec and ended on 14Dec2020. The 6 day event went off smoothly without any major technical hiccups or internet outages because the whole program was held virtually due to the pandemic.
The Darjeeling HImalaya Initiative which is the W Bengal State chapter of IMI was responsible for organizing and conduct of Disaster Risk Reduction session on Day -2 of the summit and we had as our main speakers an amazing line up of resource persons:

The Facebook link of the event is here

Many thanks to the resource persons and speakers during our session.Thanks also to Roshan our incomparable compere and Shreya for helping out resolve the technical issues. Our thanks to the young and vibrant IMI people from the Secretariat and of course our gratitude to the audience.

Praful Rao
Kalimpong district
Darjeeling - Kalimpong Himalaya

Sunday, December 6, 2020

NOVEMBER RAIN of the region (2020)

We had a few storms in the Bay of Bengal (see previous posts) but they affected the southern states only and our region remained absolutely dry with no rain in the entire region except for North Sikkim receiving rain on

18Nov (in mm)
Mangan -  24.2, Chungtang-  5.8, Shipgyer-  5.2, Singhik-  19.4
19Nov (in mm)
Mangan-  4.2, Shipgyer-  8, Singhik-  3.6

Praful Rao with Ms Shreya Gurung,
Kalimpong district
Darjeeling-Sikkim Himalaya

Thursday, November 26, 2020

End of the year storms in the Bay : CYCLONES "NIVAR' (23-26Nov) & "BUREVI" (02-04Dec)

The LOW pressure on 23Nov2020 which eventually intensified in CYCLONE 'NIVAR'


An extraordinary photo - almost seems as if the legendary landscape photographer ANSEL ADAMS (1902-1984) shot the image from heaven.

CYCLONE 'BUREVI' (02Dec-04Dec2020)

Praful Rao
Kalimpong District
Darjeeling-Sikkim Himalaya