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Landslides in India

Dr Ellen Robson, a research associate at the Institute of Hazard, Risk and Resilience (IHRR) at Durham University, has co-authored a publication with colleagues at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Mandi on rainfall-triggered landslides in the Himalayas in 'The Conversation'.

Himalayan communities are under siege from landslides – and climate change is worsening the crisis 

In this article, Dr Ashutosh Kumar (Assistant Professor, IIT Mandi), Eedy Sana (PhD student, IIT Mandi) and Dr Ellen Robson (PDRA, IHRR) discuss the devastating landslides that occurred during the summer monsoon 2023 in the Indian Himalayas due to heavy rainfall events. The state of Himachal Pradesh in the northern part of the country was particularly affected. The state’s disaster management authority reported that by the end of August, heavy rain and rainfall-triggered landslides had caused 509 fatalities, destroyed at least 2,200 homes, and damaged a further 10,000. It is estimated that Himachal Pradesh’s losses from this period amount to US$1.2 billion.

The article outlines that these heavy rainfall events are becoming more frequent and more intense in the Himalayan foothills due to climate change.  However, it states that although climate change may be to blame for the rise in these heavy rainfall events, the Himalayas have been made more vulnerable by human actions including deforestation and haphazard construction practices. They state that as the heavy rain intensifies, it will be hugely important for the Himalayas to implement new user-friendly and reliable construction guidelines that factor in how the climate is changing.

Find out more about Ellen's research:

Durham University staff webpage

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