Indicator-based approach for assigning physical vulnerability of the houses to landslide hazard in the Himalayan region of India

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Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences


Although houses are the most affected physical element by landslides, studies on the vulnerability of houses are limited, particularly in the Himalayan region. The present research concentrates on assessing the physical vulnerability of the houses to landslide hazard modifying an indicator-based approach. In the methodological framework, the vulnerability index is composed of the resistance capacity of the houses and their exposures. The study introduced several sets of geomorphic conditions on the basis of which the resistance-indicators were evaluated and adopted using Fuzzy - Analytic Hierarchy Process (Fuzzy-AHP) to measure the resistance index of the houses. The method was carried out on 332 houses in the active landslide-prone sites of the Kalimpong region of the Himalaya, India. The data was collected based on field surveys using GPS, field mapping, and interviews of local people. The result shows that about 50% of the houses are highly vulnerable. Even though their influences vary at micro-level, the degree of vulnerability highly varied across the houses due to the combined effect of exposure and resistance. We validated the result with the relation between the vulnerability index and the damaged households using the R - index method. The result reflects that the partly damaged households and the vulnerability index have a positive association. Finally, the study demonstrates that improving the resistance of houses and mitigation of landslide is critical to manage the vulnerability of the houses.

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Publication Title

International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction