February 21, 2024

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Ten Landslide Early Warning Systems to be Set up in Kangra, India

Image Credit: IIT Mandi

The Indian Institute of Technology in Mandi (IIT-Mandi) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the District Disaster Management Authority of Kangra, Himachal Pradesh. Under the MoU, IIT-Mandi will develop and deploy ten landslide monitoring and early warning systems (EWS). The systems will be installed at certain parts of the region, which will be selected based on on-site visits and satellite imaging through Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR)-based analysis. The project will also help in the development of machine learning approaches to generate prediction-based warnings.

All the deployed systems will be maintained for five years from the date of installation as per the MoU. Any further maintenance will require funds as communicated by concerned agencies at the time. IIT-Mandi will be required to install two systems in the selected locations over the next three months, starting from the day the project is initiated. In the next phase, it will install four more systems, preferably before the monsoon, a report explained. The institute will also fine-tune any site-specific needs for the systems, including power, sensing parameters, data, and alerting requirements.

Last December, the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, reviewed the system during his visit to Mandi. The governor of Himachal Pradesh also visited IIT Mandi for a discussion on Landslide Risk Management and assured that the association between IIT-Mandi and the Himachal Pradesh government will play a pivotal role in preventing landslides in the state. According to an official, the systems will help reduce the number of landslide fatalities and will enable the District Disaster Management Authority to be better prepared for emergencies.

IIT-Mandi is responsible for the deployment of the EWS including the monitoring movement and weather parameters at the deployment sites. It will generate alerts through text messages wherever possible. The faculty, staff, and lab resources for EWS research will also be provided by IIT-Mandi. The District Disaster Management Authority will be responsible for providing the funds for the development, deployment, and maintenance of the systems. The Authority will also protect the EWS against theft by securing them on the ground via cement/concrete-based pedestals. Finally, it will provide relevant stakeholders to receive the alerts corresponding to each location.

Last year, the Indian Institute of Technology in Roorkee (IIT-Roorkee) launched Uttarakhand Bhookamp Alert, which the institute claimed to be India’s first earthquake early warning (EEW) mobile app. Similar to the landslide EWS’ project in Kangra, the Uttarakhand Bhookamp app was sponsored by the Uttarakhand State Disaster Management Authority. As OpenGov Asia had reported, EEW is a real-time earthquake information system that can detect the onset of an earthquake and issue warnings. The physical basis for an earthquake early warning system is the speed of the seismic waves, which spread after the release of stress from faults movement. The earth shakes due to shear waves, which travel at about half the speed of the primary waves and are much slower than electromagnetic signals. The EEW system exploits this advantage. The application can alert citizens before a calamity hits the region, advising them to evacuate and relocate.

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