Sunday, November 29, 2009

The link between rainfall intensity and global temperature (from Dave's Landslide Blog)

One of the most interesting aspects of the global landslide database that we maintain at Durham is the way in which it has highlighted the importance of rainfall intensity in the triggering of fatal landslides. Generally speaking, to kill people a landslide needs to move quickly rapid, and rapid landslides appear to be primarily (but note not always) triggered by intense rainfall events (indeed in the reports the term "cloudburst" often crops up). So, a key component of trying to understand the impacts of human-induced global climate change on landslides is the likely nature of changes in rainfall intensity, rather than that of rainfall total. Put another way, it is possible that the average annual rainfall for an area might decrease but the occurrence of landslides increase if the rainfall arrives in more intense bursts.

(For those interested the full article can be read here)


Comment by Praful Rao

Even though STH does not have accurate data to support the above article, it is true that in 2009 we had high intensity rainfall on 5 occasions (shown in earlier blogs) - and 4 of these "extreme events" caused severe landslides in the Darjeeling district.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Images from Landslide Hazard Workshop at Town Hall, Kalimpong :21Nov2009

A strike in the Darjeeling district on 20Nov2009 , necessitated rescheduling the entire workshop for the next day - luckily for us the venue (Town Hall) was free and so we could go ahead with the workshop - with some changes as 2 resource persons were not available on 21Nov2009.
The resource persons on 21Nov2009 were :-
a) Prof Leszek Starkel
b) Prof Jeta Sankrityayana
c) Dr Vimal Khawas
d) Wg Cdr Praful Rao (retd).

I am glad to tell you that despite all the many hurdles and the last minute changes that were required, the workshop was a success.
I will be posting the outcome document of the workshop in a few days.

Praful Rao

Friday, November 13, 2009

In the next week...

Last year exactly at this time STH conducted a workshop on Landslide Hazards at Southfield College, Darjeeling. I have the proud priviledge of announcing that we are again organizing a workshop on similar lines, this time at Kalimpong. Whereas sceptics (I was also one) may debate the ultimate result of conducting these sessions, I am now convinced that these workshops, meetings and awareness camps have to carry on relentlessly... it is only then that somewhere, sometime the community first and then people in the media and govt circles will start thinking about prevention and the many other aspects of this little known disaster form.

Praful Rao

Monday, November 9, 2009

At the Second India Disaster Congress, Vigyan Bhavan, Delhi

I had the unique privilege of attending the 2nd India Disaster Management Congress at Vigyan Bhavan between 04Nov-06Nov2009 ( those interested on details of the Congress can read it here).
What I am extremely glad to report is that during the question hour of  thematic sessions on "Mass Movements (Landslides and Avalanches)"- Plenary Hall, 05Nov2009, thematic session on "Involving Communities, NGOs in Disaster Management"- Plenary Hall, 05Nov2009  and that on "Early Warning and Disaster Communication" on 06Nov2009 (Hall no 5) I could raise the following issues :-
a) The increase in the incidents and severity of landslides in Darjeeling and the need for a holistic and sustained strategy to manage landslides in the district. ( During thematic session : Landslides)
b) Compensation for land loss (esp to farmers) due to landslides. ( During thematic session : Landslides)
c) Possibility of the Govt machinery issuing "Heavy Rainfall and Landslide Alerts" through SMS broadcasts. ( During thematic session : Early Warning and Disaster Communication )
d) Insurance of land against landslides. ( During thematic session : Communities, NGOs in Disaster Management )

Praful Rao

Comment by Praful Rao
My regrets for not posting more photographs - the security during the meeting often deterred  one from using cameras. However, more photos should be available on the NIDM website.