Govt to set up landslide management centre

Kathmandu, October 18

Soil Conservation and Watershed Management Department is planning to develop a systematic National Landslide Management Centre within the next few months to maintain information on landslides in the country.

Currently, the country does not have any appropriate or authentic data on landslides that occur frequently during monsoons, and sometimes even in during the winters.

After the devastating earthquakes that occurred last year, geologists have warned that the country has grown more vulnerable to landslides and demanded immediate landslide hazard mapping throughout the country.

Hence, the department has come with a plan to establish the National Landslide Management Centre at the department in Babarmahal, Kathmandu.

Director General at the department Bijaya Raj Paudyal informed that he is currently consulting related stakeholders to establish the centre at the earliest and gather comprehensible information related to landslides in Nepal.

“The process of forming a National Landslide Management Centre has been started,” Paudyal said, adding,“The department is committed to establishing the centre at the earliest.”

Paudyal said that the centre would carry out various landslide-related researches, maintain a landslide inventory, conduct landslide hazard mapping, and develop prevention programmes.

According to an analysis of the National Society for Earthquake Technology Nepal, a total of 3,220 landslides have been recorded in the country between 1971 and 2013. Data have shown that 76 landslides occur in Nepal every year.

An average of 111 landslide-related deaths a year has been recorded, and a total of 4,691 people have been killed due to landslides between 1971 and 2013. Landslides affect 14,303 people in Nepal every year, and altogether 600,736 people have been affected between 1971 and 2013.

The Department of Soil Conservation and Watershed Management said that although there are at least 30 various organisations working for landslide management in Nepal, the department receives three to five complaints from landslides victims daily.

The department has developed plans to designate 61 District Soil Conservation Officers as Environment Inspectors at the same time.

The department is also preparing to launch a policy level and local level programme to save lives, protect property, and carry out resettlement programmes in regions at high risk of landslides.

Though incidents of landslides and floods are often reported from across the country during monsoon every year, the government has yet to identify landslide and flood-prone areas.

An engineering geologist and Associate Professor at the Central Department of Geology in Tribhuwan University Ranjan Kumar Dahal said that 14 districts are at high risk of landslides after last year’s earthquakes made the geological structure of the districts unstable.

Dahal said that the upstream areas of Bhotekoshi and Melamchi of Sindhupalchowk, Rasuwa and northern Nuwakot, were at high risk of landslides.

Similarly, Tansen of Palpa, Tamghas of Gulmi, Mangalsen of Achham, Bhojpur, Sankhuwasabha, and Phidim along with all major settlement areas in the mid-hills are at high risk of landslides. The entire mid-hill region of the country has become vulnerable to landslides, especially after intense rainfall.

Dahal added that the government had turned a deaf ear although he persistently reminded the latter of the vulnerable areas.