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Understanding the Issues Involved in Human Adaptation to Landslide Risks: Case Studies from Chittagong and Cox’s Bazar City, Bangladesh
Professor Dr. David E. Alexander
Source(s) of funding:
UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction, University College London, Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT, UK
020 3108 1108
Chittagong and Cox’s Bazar cities of Bangladesh are highly vulnerable to landslide hazard, with an increasing trend of frequency and damage. The major recent landslide events were related to extreme rainfall intensities having short period of time. All the major landslide events occurred as a much higher rainfall amount compared to the monthly average. Moreover rapid urbanization, increased population density, improper landuse; alterations in the hilly regions by illegally cutting the hills, indiscriminate deforestation and agricultural practices are aggravating the landslide vulnerability in these cities.
In general, the term ‘Natural Disaster’ refers to extreme natural events like tsunami, earthquakes, landslides, floods etc. But it has been argued that these events are not disasters until a vulnerable group of people is exposed. As noted by Alexander (2005), much is now known about the physics/mechanisms of landslide hazards, but landslide vulnerability remains a more elusive concept, dependent upon seemingly nebulous patterns of decision-making, response and behaviour. Therefore, this research places the people who experience landslides at the centre. The aim of this research is to understand human adaptation to landslide risks under the condition of rapid urbanization in fast growing cities of a developing country.
To achieve this goal, it is important to know: (a) Why the people ‘at risk’ are living in this area? (b) Why they are not relocating to a safer place? (c) What will be the consequences if they leave this place? (d) What steps the local people are taking to stay here for longer? (e) What are the possible threats in living here? (f) How the local communities respond to landslide risks and mitigation strategies; and (g) How these areas can be planned in a balanced way to reduce landslide vulnerability?
The outcome of this research will help the endangered local inhabitants/communities, urban planners and engineers to reduce losses caused by landslides by means of prevention, mitigation and avoidance. Finally the results will also be useful for understanding the causative factors of landslide hazards, people's perception, policies undertaken by different agencies and its associated risks by the local communities; for upholding the efforts on the reduction of future landslide hazards in the context of Bangladesh.