Saturday, February 26, 2022

SaveTheHills activity: Workshop in a remote village school on 'How to be better prepared for disasters in 2022' (25Feb2022)

Manzing (Pokhriabong GP, Gorubathan Block of Kalimpong district) is a remote village located almost 20kms south east of Kalimpong.
On 25Feb2022 while attending a workshop organized by Anugyalaya DSSS there, it took us 3 hours to reach the High School where the program was organized. I traveled with a group of Fire Brigade personnel who had a demo and talk on Fire Fighting.

My thanks to Mr Sudip Bomzon of Anugyalaya for organizing the workshop and I have added
Mr Praveen Ghising, Head Master of the Pokhriabong High School (Gorubathan) to 'Hazard Alerts' our Whats App group so that he can pass on our warnings and weather information to the children and staff.

Praful Rao
Kalimpong District
Darjeeling Sikkim Himalaya

Sunday, February 20, 2022

SaveTheHills activitiy: In person workshop on 'Landslides and Environmental Issues of the Region) at DISHA Center, Kalimpong -18/19Feb2022

Raising awareness on the severe landslide problem of this region and other environmental issues of the Himalayas has always been one of STH's main roles and so we have carried out literally hundreds of awareness programs not only in this region but also in Delhi, Kolkata, Gauhati and so on (all documented in this blog).
The COVID pandemic put an abrupt stop to our in person meetings but we did carry on using various online platforms.
With the pandemic restrictions being eased, we have resumed our outreach programs and this was one such event.

We have featured the landslides in Sindebung in many earlier blog reports (see 1, 2) besides taking media people, scientists, students and govt officials to the site.
I visited the village after several years, because of COVID restrictions and I was astonished to see the huge numbers of large new buildings and homes which have come up in the area but the plight of the landslide affected people remain unchanged.
I felt a sense of guilt, anguish and helplessness when the villagers who's homes are on the edge of the landslide  again asked me to do 'something', lest all their assets and belongings disappear.

Praful Rao and the STH team
Kalimpong district
Darjeeling - Sikkim Himalaya

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Jan2022 weather over the Darjeeling-Sikkim Himalaya

Hailed, rained in Mirik, Kurseong (46mm), Darjeeling (3.2mm), Kpg (2mm), Gtk (1mm)
Rained in Kolkata.

Rained in Kurseong, Mirik
Light rain in Kalimpong
Jaldhaka (5.4mm), Kurseong (18.4mm), Darj (1mm)
Light rain in Kalimpong, Jaldhaka (2.8mm)
Jaldhaka (2.2mm)
Jaldhaka (14.8mm)
Jaldhaka (22.4mm)

Praful Rao
Kalimpong district
Darjeeling-Sikkim Himalaya

Monday, February 7, 2022

SaveTheHills activities in 2021 - landslide surveys

One of the most important roles of STH over the years is to document landslide occurrences in our region so that this information though not technical in nature is available to scholars, government departments and others.
Unfortunately, due to the lockdowns and restrictions imposed during COVID peaks we could not carry out these surveys in landslide affected areas very far from Kalimpong however, our Whats App group 'Hazard Alerts' proved extremely useful as a crowd sourced information hub where people reported landslides and heavy rain as they occurred and we were able to record these events in our database.

03Jan2021 : A visit to Mungpel village

See here for details

17April2021: Reporting a lightning strike
Hanuman Mandir, Kalimpong

04Jul2021: Landslide survey around Kalimpong town

22Jul2021: Survey around areas NE of Kalimpong town ie Algarah town

Algarah is satellite town located approx 15km NE of Kalimpong. It has long had a serious  subsidence problem and each year a central part of the town literally sinks. We surveyed the road to Algarah  (which has numerous subsidence zones) and the areas in the vicinity.

31Jul2021: Survey of landslide affected areas in Kalimpong after extreme rainfall of 29Jul

We had some of the heaviest rainfall of the monsoons in July 2021 and that resulted in a large number of landslides in Kalimpong on 30Jul2021. We surveyed the affected areas.

This 👆 is undoubtedly one of the largest landslide in the entire Darjeeling - Kalimpong district.

06Aug2021: Berrick dara (NH10)

After a report on the local media (Kalimpong TV) that a large landslide at Berrick Dara on NH10, was causing instability and cracks to the homes of Berrick village we made a visit to the place on 06Aug2021.
Berrick on NH10 has had a long standing problem with landslides.

25Sep2021: Landside Survey in Kurseong with GSI Team

STH member Mr Sachin Tamang from Kurseong (Darjeeling district) was with GSI team surveying landslides along NH110 at Sukna, Tindharia, Pagla Jhora and Kurseong

02Oct2021 : Landslide Survey in Kalimpong district with GSI Team

I have participated in many landslide surveys with the GSI over the years and it was a pleasure to be with geologists Sumit and Ankur  during their visit to Kalimpong district.

Surveying NH10 from Teesta to Rangpo and back via Munsong

28Oct2021: Surveying the landslides along NH717A

The deluge of 18/19Oct2021 caused a large number of landslides along the NH717A, a highway being constructed as an alternate to NH10. 

Fatal landslide at Darjeeling SDO's quarters.

The landslide which damaged part of the SDO Darjeeling quarters (which lies above  the  District Magistrate's office and below Raj Bhavan) occurred on 19Oct2021. The watchman (chowkidar) died when he was buried by the slide. 

Many of the surveys are covered in more detail in this blog (pl check blog for the month and date).
Otherwise thanks to Ms Shreya Gurung of STH, we have a data base of landslides where we have recorded the coordinates/rainfall/ damage caused by the landslide. They are here

Landslide catalogue

Landslide Survey on NH717A done on 28Oct2021

Praful Rao
Kalimpong district
Darjeeling-Sikkim Himalayas

Sunday, February 6, 2022

Hyperactive WDs and unusual (heavy) snowfall in our region 04-05Feb2022

As forecast by IMD, we had bumper to bumper Western Disturbances sweeping in from the west from Jan till now. This along with moisture incursion from the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian sea resulted in rain, hail and snowfall in our region on 04-05Feb2022.

Praful Rao
Kalimpong district
Darjeeling-Sikkim Himalaya

Saturday, February 5, 2022

SaveTheHills (STH) activities in 2021 : Raising awareness about Hazards and the Environment by organizing and participating in Webinars, in person Seminars and a Training Program

 One of the main objectives of STH has always been to raise awareness among the general public and also among government officials and others about the hazards and environmental issues of our region and over the years STH has organized and participated in hundreds of workshops, training programs and seminars - all of which are documented in this blog.
In 2021 also we followed this routine except that because of COVID -19 most of our programs had to be online webinars.

Webinars and a Training Program with National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM)


Webinars with Kalimpong Science Centre

In person Seminar on 'Disasters & Women' and webinar (with DHI)

Besides this STH, being a part of the Darjeeling Himalaya Initiative (DHI) was involved in the many activities involved in hosting SMDS X which is the annual flagship event of the Integrated Mountain Initiative (IMI)

Praful Rao
Kalimpong district
Darjeeling-Sikkim Himalaya

Thursday, February 3, 2022

The weather of Dec 2021 and the closing ceremony of SMDS X (Kalimpong chapter)

December began with a low pressure area in the Andaman sea which ultimately intensified into Cyclone 'JAWAD' - which curved towards Bangladesh and gave some rain over Kolkata on Sun05 Dec2021

Western disturbances were very active towards the latter part of Dec 2021 and affected our region a lot.


Hail storms in this region were reported at

1. Rishyap (Kalimpong district) - 22Dec
2. Shillong - 22Dec

Intermittent rain/drizzle was reported at

1. Kurseong
24/25/26Dec (21.6mm reported on 26Dec)
27Dec (2.2mm)                                            
29Dec (1mm)
3. Jaldhaka
25Dec (9mm)
4. Darjeeling
29Dec (13.2mm)
5. Kalimpong
29Dec (5.3mm)
6. Jaldhaka
24Dec (9mm)
29Dec (2.6mm)
7. Gangtok (East Skm)
28Dec (12.2mm)
29Dec (14.6mm)
8. Damthang (South Skm)
24Dec (3.2mm)
28Dec (13.4mm)
9. Dentam (West Skm)
25Dec (1mm)
28Dec (6.5mm)
29Dec (7.5mm)
10. Mangan (North Skm)
27Dec (4.2mm)
28Dec (19.2mm)
29Dec (19.2mm)

Snowfall reported at

1. Jalpahar (Darjeeling)
2. Ghoom (Darjeeling)
3. Dhotrey (Darjeeling)                

Drawing the curtains down on SMDS X at Kalimpong on 11 Dec2021 (International Mountain Day)


Ending 2021 with a piece of Good News

Praful Rao
Kalimpong district
Darjeeling Sikkim Himalaya