Kathmandu, Nepal: A year has now passed since the devastating earthquake in Nepal and it continues to struggle with enormous challenges of rebuilding and reconstruction. The 7.6 magnitude earthquake on 25 April and a series of aftershocks have only worsened risks of landslides in Nepal. But out of the earthquake devastation, there also emerged a major initiative for collective and coordinated action landslide risk management.
“The crisis caused human tragedy and a very heavy loss for Nepal but it also brought together key agencies under a common platform to share knowledge on landslide management,” said David Molden, director general of ICIMOD.
For a country like Nepal, with extreme geological fragility and unsustainable development practices, landscape destruction is nothing new. Such fragility was further compounded by Nepal’s devastating earthquake in 2015 and caused a large number of landslides especially in 14 most earthquake-affected districts. A post-earthquake landslide-mapping by (CIMOD recorded 1,716 landslides (Nepal post-earthquake landslide mapping)
This level of earthquake caused landslide destruction necessitated a key consultation between key agencies working on natural disaster management in September 2015. Over 80 participants had attended the meeting on 28-29 September led by Department of Conservation and Watershed Management, supported by ICIMOD’s Koshi Basin Programme and a consortium of partners including UN Environment Programme, UN Development Programme, Food and Agriculture Organisation and International Union for Conservation of Nature.
The consultation resulted in forming a major consensus among key responsible agencies to join hands for initiating action to enhance and share landslide knowledge and as well as building capacity of national agencies to manage the landslide risks.
As a result, four different groups have been formed, each responsible for specific action on various landslide-related knowledge activities. ICIMOD will be taking a lead in formulating landslide inventory methodology and forming a common platform for data and information sharing. More details are included in a new report prepared by ICIMOD, detailing the proceedings and technical sessions to share information on how the Government of Nepal and the national and international partners will be working together on landslide disaster risk reduction.
ICIMOD believes that this consultation will be relevant across the Hindu Kush Himalayas (HKH) for better disaster risk management. In addition to Nepal, the eight HKH countries include Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar and Pakistan, where ICIMOD is focused as an intergovernmental organization.
“Landslides and geohazards are directly linked to livelihoods and sustainable mountain agenda, which is an integral part of ICIMOD’s work,” said ICIMOD’s Eklabya Sharma.