Amrita University has been conferred the ‘World Centre of Excellence on Landslide Disaster Reduction’ award in recognition of its cutting-edge research on detection and early warning of landslides. The title, from the International Program on Landslides (IPL), was conferred at the fourth World Landslide Forum in Ljubljana, Slovenia, which the University will hold till 2020, a release said today. There are 20 such centres in the world, but none in India currently. The University successfully deployed the world’s first wireless sensor network system for detection and early warning of landslides in Munnar, Kerala.
At the request of the Government of India, they deployed a similar system in Sikkim, Northeast Himalayas.
Dr Maneesha Sudheer, Director, Center for Wireless Networks and Applications, Amrita University, who spearheads landslide research, said the University’s recognition as a World Centre of Excellence would allow them to increase capabilities within India while collaborating with United Nations and other globally renowned research centres. She said AU planned to develop a comprehensive framework, including landslide hazard mapping, remote sensing, low-cost sensing, big-data analytics, and decision models.
“The next step in our research will provide an opportunity to implement end-to-end systems for real-time monitoring, detection and early warning of landslides in India. We will also undertake the development of low-cost MEMS sensors and big data analytics platform for disaster risk reduction,” she said. Landslides are the third most deadly natural disasters on Earth, with 400 billion Dollars being spent annually worldwide for landslide disaster management. More than 300 people throughout the world die every year due to landslides.
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More than 12 percent of land area in India is susceptible to landslides and major landslide prone areas include the Western Ghats and Konkan Hills (Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra); Eastern Ghats (Araku region in Andhra Pradesh); North East Himalayas (Darjeeling and Sikkim) and North West Himalayas (Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir). “Landslides in Bangladesh which killed more than 150 people last week have starkly underlined the nature of the threat to life and property posed by them, she said.