Monday 24 September 2012

Lessons from China (1) - Introduction

As highlighted on the GfGD blog last week, I have recently returned from the First International Symposium on New Techniques for Geohazards Research and Management in the Gansu Province of China. This conference encompassed two days of presentation relating to landslides, debris flows and management strategies followed by four days in the field, travelling 1200km by road to visit sites of major landslide activity.

The beauty and magnitude of the landscapes there was enormous, ranging from magnificent loess terraces, to sharp limestone mountains and vast sediment-laden rivers. It was, however, the raw vulnerability of communities that impacted me most - The desperate need for improved science and engineering, but an even greater need for better communication, decision making, education and understanding of how to build resilience. 

Posts about various aspects of this trip, case studies and challenges, will come in the near future. In the meantime, here are a few photos taken from the trip. Look out on Wednesday for a video of the active landslide in the final picture below.

Landslide in loess terrain (Heifangtai, Gansu Province, China)
(c) Geology for Global Development, 2012

Construction of a large debris flow channel to reduce the risk to the community at the bottom of the valley. A deadly flow killed over 1500 people in 2010.
(Zhouqu, Gansu Province, China)

(c) Geology for Global Development, 2012

An active complex landslide - with failure occurring in both the loess material and bedrock
(Gansu Province, China)

(c) Geology for Global Development, 2012