Seminar - Delivering urban landslide risk reduction in developing countries
Landslide risk is increasing especially in urban areas in tropical developing countries. Poverty and rapid urbanisation mean the most vulnerable often move to unsafe hillsides where the land is cheap to rent. Here, even small landslides can result in significant loss of life and property, whilst multiple landslide events can affect economic development at a national level. Over the last two decades international development agencies have formulated disaster risk reduction policies, recognising that prevention is preferable to remediation and recovery. Yet the majority of such funding is still spent after the event. Even when money is available, examples of effective ex-ante urban landslide hazard reduction measures are rare.
This seminar will report on one approach which has successfully delivered landslide hazard reduction measures in unplanned urban communities of the Caribbean. MoSSaiC (Management of Slope Stability in Communities) is grounded in the science of slope hydrology and geomechanics, engages local government experts, and draws on community knowledge of highly localised slope features.
In many urban areas it is these localised features which are found to enhance infiltration of rainfall or surface water and result in landslides. Integrated systems of surface water 'intercept' drains (built by the community residents themselves) and roof-water harvesting can significantly improve stability. The delivery of such landslide hazard reduction measures has proven to be a fundamental part of the acceptance of MoSSaiC – from the pilot project in 2004 to its up-take by Communities, Governments and The World Bank. In this context, some of the gaps (and potential bridges) between landslide risk reduction science, practice and policy will be discussed.
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