BASYAL, GOPI,KRISHNA (2021) Living with landslides: Integrating knowledge for landslide risk reduction in rural Nepal. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.
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Nepal is a country highly exposed to the impact of climate change, a situation that is set against the ongoing experience of year-on-year losses from environmental disasters. Of these, landslides result in the highest number of fatalities, a situation that is attributed to a combination of factors: the monsoon climate, the steep unstable topography and a large and often highly vulnerable rural population. Unfortunately, Nepal’s experience in this respect is also of global significance: between 2004 and 2016 the country accounted for approximately 10% of all rainfall-triggered landslide fatalities, despite occupying less than 0.1% of the Earth’s land area. The majority of these incidents are experienced as a result of relatively small-scale localised landslides, the perennial nature of which means they are often seen as part of life, despite their significant chronic impact on people’s livelihoods. This chronic background hazard was then overprinted by the Mw7.8 2015 Gorkha earthquake, which resulted in a significant number of fatalities and had a further devastating impact on people’s livelihoods. It also caused additional landslides across Central and Western Nepal. Six years later, these impacts are still being felt. As a result, there is a real need to build greater resilience to landslide risks in rural Nepal; however, efforts to do this lack innovation, and are relatively limited in number and success.
To tackle the problem, this research presents a study of a valley badly hit by the 2015 earthquake where the residents have to live alongside active landslides. The research starts with a household survey to explore the depth of understandings of landslides, the risks they pose and how these features in day-to-day lives. A participatory mapping exercise follows; this seeks to explore in more detail the geographical dimensions of local risk awareness, highlighting several knowledge gaps with regard to why, where and when landslides may occur. Finally, the research presents the development of a novel live demonstration system, which models an actively failing slope to allow participants to gain more insight into the mechanisms of the landslides around them and the risks they pose. Critically, the demonstrator provides a way of visualising and evaluating potential forms of landslide mitigation, such as monitoring or small-scale engineering interventions, that could help to reduce these risks in future. The thesis concludes by considering how this approach might be developed further as a means of reducing landslide risks in rural Nepal.
|Item Type:||Thesis (Doctoral)|
|Award:||Doctor of Philosophy|
|Keywords:||Landslides, Hazards and risks, Participatory mapping, Physical tool, Landslide demonstrator, Local understandings|
|Faculty and Department:||Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Geography, Department of|
|Copyright:||Copyright of this thesis is held by the author|
|Deposited On:||23 May 2022 12:53|