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Institute of Hazard, Risk and Resilience

Nepal

Nepal lies within one of the most seismically active areas in the world.

IHRR is a partner in the Earthquakes Without Frontiers project (EWF).

This is a five-year research project (2012-2017) funded by the UK’s Natural Environment Research Council and the Economic and Social Research Council. The UK-based project team are working closely with local scientists, policy makers, and governmental and non- governmental organisations. The team aims to increase the resilience of populations exposed to earthquakes and related hazards along the Alpine-Himalayan Belt in Nepal, the Indian State of Bihar, Kazakhstan and China.

EWF local partners in Nepal and Bihar include: the Nepal Risk Reduction Consortium, the National Society for Earthquake Technology, the Nepal School of Social Work, the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development, and the Bihar State Disaster Management Authority. The April 25, 2015 Gorkha Earthquake and subsequent May 12th aftershock killed almost 9,000 people, injured 22,000 and destroyed over half a million houses. Around eight million people were affected. (Data: Government of Nepal, National Planning Commission, 2015).

IHRR researchers are also involved in assessing and monitoring landslide hazard in Nepal, both after individual events (like the 2015 Gorkha earthquake) and over the longer term. The Gorkha earthquake and subsequent aftershocks killed almost 9,000 people and destroyed 10-15% of the building stock in the country, affecting more than eight million people.

IHRR researchers led efforts to provide rapid assessment of landslide impacts in the days and weeks following the earthquake, and (with support from NERC and the UK Department for International Development, DFID) also monitored landslide hazard during the 2015 and 2016 monsoon seasons.

The team provided advice on current and potential landslide hazards to a wide range of organisations, including the UK Government Office for Science, DFID, and the UN Resident Coordinator in Nepal. Most recently, this has included advice to DFID (Nepal) on landslide hazards in the 2016 monsoon season (see here).

As well as understanding the current situation and the impacts of the 2015 earthquakes, IHRR research is also helping to plan for future events. Dr Tom Robinson is producing a suite of scenarios that describe the potential effects of future large earthquakes in Nepal. Some of these scenarios are being used by the major development organisations in Nepal in their contingency planning and preparation.

IHRR researchers working in Nepal include Prof Alex Densmore, Dr Nick Rosser, Dr Katie Oven, Dr. David Milledge, Dr. Tom Robinson, Dr Matt Brain, Dr Mark Kincey. PhD candidates Mrs Hanna Ruszczyk, Miss Jessica Benjamin, Jack Williams, and Research Masters student Miss Heather Bell.