Action on Natural Disasters (AND) project comprises four research projects.
Radar coherence map of central Nepal
Host Department: Earth Sciences (Faculty of Science)
Supervisors: Dr Richard Walters (Earth Sciences); Dr David Milledge (Geography); Prof Alex Densmore (Geography); Dr Dino Bellugini (UC Berkeley).
Student: Katy Burrows
Earthquakes that occur in mountainous areas often trigger damaging landslides that destroy buildings, block roads, and cause significant loss of life. Rapid mapping of the location and size of landslides is vital following a major earthquake so that humanitarian and governmental organisations can effectively deliver aid to stricken areas. This project aims to develop new methods to automatically detect landslides in images taken by radar satellites. These satellites can see through the clouds that often block the view of optical satellites and will enable a much faster response to future earthquake-triggered landslides.
Durham University monitoring equipment.
Host Department: Engineering and Computing Sciences (Faculty of Science)
Supervisors: Prof David Toll (Engineering); Dr Nick Rosser (Geography); Dr Matthew Brain (Geography)
Student: Samprada Pradhan
During the monsoon season, very heavy rainfall can cause severe landslides in the mountains of the Himalaya in Nepal. The April 2015 earthquake in Nepal will have made the hill slopes weaker and more landslides are likely to follow in the monsoons over the next 5 to 10 years. Landsliding causes many problems for the roads of Nepal which become blocked by debris. This project will involve soil testing and computer modelling of landslides to investigate the effects on the roads due to landsliding caused by earthquakes or monsoon rainfall.
The Sun Koshi Landslide dam.
Host Department: Geography (Faculty of Social Sciences and Health)
Supervisors: Dr Nick Rosser (Geography); Dr Judith Covey (Psychology); Dr David Milledge (Geography); Dr Katie Oven (Geography)
Students: Gopi Basyal
Landslides in the Himalaya generate a significant hazard to mountain communities. Whilst much is known about the risks that landslides and their secondary impacts pose, such as landslides dams, communicating this science in a timely and effective manner to those at risk remains challenging. This project will explore current practices used community level to communicate landslide risk, and identify ways to enhance risk communication by drawing on new and innovative interdisciplinary research on landslide risk, psychology and community-based disaster risk reduction. The outputs will be an exploration of forward planning risk communication strategies, with the aim of reducing the impacts of landslides in Nepal as and when they occur.
Chaku after the 2015 Gorkha earthquake.
Host Department: Philosophy (Faculty of Arts and Humanities)
Supervisors: Prof Julian Reiss (Philosophy); Dr David Milledge (Geography); Prof Alex Densmore (Geography)
Student: Sheena Ramkumar
This project aims to develop ‘simple rules’ to protect communities in Nepal which continue to face landslide hazards. These rules are intended to be easily taught to those without much formal education and who might have to use them under pressure. The rules must also be shown to be ecologically rational (well-adapted to the specific structure of the environment to which they are applied).