Topic: Disaster Management
Qn. What activities increase the vulnerability in mountain regions to disasters related to landslides ? Explain the disaster management approach of the Indian Government to reduce the landslide related vulnerability?(250 words)
Why this Question ?
The question is framed in the context of the editorial in today’s Hindu Newspaper that brings out the efforts of India and China to dam the Himalayan rivers so as to generate Hydro Electric Power.While the efforts to generate hydro electricity has to be appreciated from the standpoint of environment, the risks associated with disasters in the Himalayas has to also be accounted.
The answer for the question has to be centred around the disaster profile of the Himalayan region to landslides and earthquakes.
The introduction for the question could address the situation in urban areas in broad and general terms.
India remains one of the most disaster prone nations of the world with around 85% of the land area susceptible to one or other forms of disaster.The geological profile of the Himalayan region makes it very prone to earthquakes and other associated disasters. Human activities
such as deforestation and increased construction of hydro electric projects, road development in the Himalayas can increase the risks associated with landslides in the region.
Activities that increase the disaster risk in mountains:-
1.Hydro electric projects
2.Unsustainable agricultural practices.
3.Earthquakes & Snowmelt
4.Climate change ,excessive rainfall and surface run off.
5.Unsustainable land development for tourism.
The role of these factors should be elaborated in detail.
Disaster Management Approach followed by the Indian Government to prevent landslides and related vulnerability:
Pre Disaster studies : (Identifies areas where the top soil is loose and where soil has been degraded by natural and human actions )
Identifies landslide related areas for hazard zoning and mapping.Landslide zoning and mapping has already been completed in Himalayas and in Western Ghats.
Building retaining walls in those areas where the risk of landslide is high. These retaining walls can help in reducing the smaller landslides that loosen the top soil thus finally paving way for bigger landslides.
Relocation and resettlement:
Afforestation in those areas that are degraded due to various reasons.Preventing any development related activities in these regions.Avoiding settlements in risky and vulnerable areas and relocation of settlements to alternative sites.
Landslides are one of the major disaster which effects 15% of the landmass. It leads to destruction of life and property.Disaster management of landslides is a very important step towards reducing the effects of the event. Disaster management should be practiced by all individuals as well as community in pre, post disaster situations.