Landslide & Climate Change

Kerala is a landslide prone state; 14.4% of the state is known to be susceptible to landslides. The most common type of landslides in Kerala is debris flows. Published scientific evidences indicate that landslides causing fatalities have increased considerably since 1970s and have caused more than 265 fatalities between 1961 to 2012. It is one of the most frequent disaster that the state faces. One of the worst landslide events in the history of Kerala is the Amboori landslides in Thiruvananthapuram which caused 39 fatalities. It is also widely acknowledged by the scientific community that unsustainable landuse practices prevailing the hilly regions of Kerala is the primary conditioning factor for triggering of landslides. Almost all landslides in the state are known to have been triggered by rainfall and both the intensity and amount of rainfall plays a major role in determining the temporal probability of the events.

Many authors have projected based on statistical and stochastic modelling that the rainfall amount of Kerala is decreasing while rainfall intensity is increasing. Although the scientific robustness of such predications may be questioned based on several statistical significance tests and validation criteria, even the distant possibility of increase in rainfall intensity is not a favourable phenomenon for the densely populated hilly tracts of Kerala.

Considering these factors, the Kerala State Disaster Management Authority, the Geological Survey of India and the GoI-UNDP Project on Enhancing institutional and community resilience to disasters and climate change (2013-17) decided to organize a one day awareness workshop on ‘landslide and climate change’ for the benefit of the stakeholder government departments, NGOs and institutions involved in disaster risk reduction in the State. The GoI-UNDP Project on Enhancing institutional and community resilience to disasters and climate change (2013-17) agreed to financially support the programme. The workshop was held on 25th August 2014 at Mascot Hotel, Thiruvananthapuram.

Detailed report of the workshop is attached here.