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24 Mar 2019, Edition - 1349, Sunday

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Coimbatore

Amrita Varsity bestowed with World Centre of Excellence on Landslide Disaster Reduction award

Covai Post Network

Amrita University has been conferred with the title of ‘World Centre of Excellence on Landslide Disaster Reduction’, 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 at 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 has successfully deployed the world’s first wireless sensor network system for detection and early warming of landslides in Munnar, Kerala. and at the request of the Government of India, they have deployed a similar system in Sikkim, North-East Himalayas.

This applied research, with significant global value for all landslide prone areas, was directly initiated by University Chancellor Mata Amritanandamayi to develop low-cost technologies for wide-area monitoring of landslides.

“Amrita University’s recognition as a World Centre of Excellence will allow us to increase capabilities within India while working collaboratively with the United Nations and other globally renowned research centres,” Dr. Maneesha Sudheer, Director, Center for Wireless Networks and Applications, Amrita University, who spearheads landslide research, said in the release.

“Building on our existing real-time monitoring and early warning system, we plan 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 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 being spent annually worldwide for landslide disaster management. More than 300 people throughout the world die every year due to landslides.

More than 12 per cent of the land area in India is susceptible to landslides and major landslide prone areas include 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).

The 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.

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