The Earthquakes without Frontiers project was launched in Nepal and Bihar State in January 2013. The launch events, organised in collaboration with our project partners, brought together more than 50 national level stakeholders involved in earthquake risk reduction in Nepal and Bihar with the aim of refining the research questions so they are relevant to stakeholder needs.
The first phase of the research is now underway (2013-14). This involves:
- mapping out the political context for earthquake risk reduction;
- understanding who the key stakeholders are and the relationships between them;
- a review of the published literature on the state-of-the-art science including tectonics in the Himalayan Region, seismic hazard assessment and landsliding with the aim of identifying research gaps; and
- investigating how science is currently used (or not) and why within policy and practice.
This information will be used to ascertain how science can be used more effectively to inform policy and practice.
The second phase of the research (2014-15) will be focused at the community level. Four to five case study areas (both urban and rural) will be identified in collaboration with our local partners for more detailed research. It is anticipated that these will follow a transect through Nepal and into Bihar State with the aim of capturing different geophysical and cross-border settings.
Possible research topics emerging from discussions with stakeholder partners include:
- how to engage urban ‘communities’ in earthquake risk reduction;
- exploring the role of municipalities in the implementation of building codes;
- using participatory risk assessments as a tool for combining local, practitioner and scientific knowledge for resilience building; and
- investigating the constraints and challenges to rolling out local level earthquake risk reduction effectively.
At the same time, we will begin investigating patterns of earthquake-triggered landslides, and trying to develop a quantitative understanding of how landslide material moves through the landscape after a large earthquake. This phase of the research will build on existing models of slope stability that predict the size and shape of shallow landslides, and that simulate the damaging effects of repeated earthquakes on hillslope materials. We will test our model outputs against compilations of earthquake-triggered landslides from recent events in Pakistan and China.