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Discussion papers | Copyright
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 22 Jan 2018

Research article | 22 Jan 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of the manuscript is under review for the journal Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences (NHESS).

Brief communication: Roads and landslides in Nepal: How development affects risk

Brian G. McAdoo1, Michelle Quak1, Kausha Gnyawali2, Basanta Adhikari2, Sanjay Devkota2, Purna Rajbhandari3, and Karen Sudmeier4 Brian G. McAdoo et al.
  • 1Yale-NUS College, Singapore, 138527
  • 2Department of Civil Engineering, Institute of Engineering, Tribhuvan University, Kirtipur, 44818, Nepal
  • 3Independent, Kathmandu, Nepal
  • 4University of Lausanne, Faculty of Geosciences and Environment, Institute of Earth Science, Lausanne, 1015, Switzerland

Abstract. The number of deaths from landslides in Nepal has been increasing dramatically due to a complex combination of earthquakes, climate change, and an explosion of road construction. We compare the distribution of landslides in Sindhupalchok district before the 2015 Gorkha Earthquake with those generated by the earthquake to demonstrate that landslides are more than twice as likely to occur near a road than a random distribution. Based on this finding, geoscientists, planners and policymakers must consider how development needs overlap with physical (and ecological), socio-political and economic factors to generate risk in exposed communities.

Brian G. McAdoo et al.
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Brian G. McAdoo et al.
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Publications Copernicus
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Short summary
China's New Silk Road promises to bring development to Nepal, but not without hazardous consequences. Using GIS maps of monsoon-triggered landslides, we show that rural roads are responsible for doubling the number of landslides in one mountainous district. Engineers are seeking sustainable and affordable eco-solutions to help stabilise these roads in order to prevent further loss of life and property as Nepal approaches this next phase in its development.
China's New Silk Road promises to bring development to Nepal, but not without hazardous...