‘Over 12% of landmass in India prone to landslides’

Our Bureau Coimbatore | Updated on January 12, 2018 Published on June 16, 2017

Amrita varsity sets up early-warning sensor system

Studies show that more than 12 per cent of the land area in the country is susceptible to landslides and more than 300 die every year, worldwide, due to landslides.

The major landslide prone areas in India include the Western Ghats and Konkan Hills (Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra), Eastern Ghats (Araku region in Andhra Pradesh), North-East Himalayas (Darjeeling and Sikkim) and North West Himalayas (Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir).

Deadly disasters

Landslides incidentally are the third most deadly natural disasters on earth with $400 billion being spent annually on landslide disaster management.

Claiming to have deployed the world’s first wireless sensor network system for detection and early warning of landslides in Munnar, Kerala, Maneesha Sudheer, Director, Centre for Wireless Networks and Applications, Amrita University, said the university has, at the request of the government deployed a similar system in Sikkim.

“Recognising the university's cutting edge research on detection and early warning of landslides, the International Programme on Landslides (IPL) has bestowed on us the title World Centre of Excellence on Landslide Disaster Reduction,” he said.

This title was conferred at the 4th World Landslide Forum at Ljubljana in Slovenia. The university will hold this title till 2020, a release from Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham University said. There are 20 such Centres of Excellence in the world, but none in India currently, it said.

Sudheer said the recognition would allow the centre to increase capabilities within India while working collaboratively with the United Nations and other globally renowned centres.

Hazard mapping

The centre plans to develop a comprehensive framework, including landslide hazard mapping, remote sensing, low cost sensing, big-data analytics and decision models, besides undertaking development of low-cost MEMS sensors and big-data analytics platform for disaster risk reduction, said Sudheer.

The centre has also initiated a landslide research project with the British Geological Society and the UK Met Office to develop regional thresholds for landslide warning from the real-time data of Amrita’s field deployment in the Himalayas and the Western Ghats.

University sources claim that Amrita University set up India’s first landslide laboratory in 2008. This lab is said to serve as a test bed for development and validation of systems deployed in landslide prone areas.

Published on June 16, 2017
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