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Publication Detail
Disaster scenario simulation of the 2010 cloudburst in Leh, Ladakh, India
© 2018 In August 2010, Leh district in the Ladakh region of north-western India experienced a disaster when a cloudburst generated debris flows, killed hundreds of people, destroyed houses, and damaged the hospital, communication infrastructure, the bus station, and vital roads. A simulation of the Leh cloudburst disaster analysed the disaster itself, disaster risk reduction plans in the region, gaps in existing response mechanisms and reducing hazard impacts in the future. The participant group comprised academic researchers and industry experts in natural hazards, social vulnerability, engineering, historical and social sciences, education, journalism, disaster management and disaster risk reduction. Many of the participants had extensive local knowledge of Ladakh or comparable neighbouring Himalayan regions. Following the disaster, Leh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC), produced a District Disaster Management Plan (DDMP), which addressed many of the gaps identified in the simulation. Most importantly, the document outlined a civil protection mechanism to respond to future hazardous events. This was utilised to assess future disaster response in the simulation scenario. From analysis of the scenario simulation, the role of the army was found to be key in minimizing the impact of the 2010 disaster, although in the future, the army may coordinate with the civil protection body as set out in the DDMP. Participants identified the lack of a local formalized civil protection plan as a major vulnerability, and the most vulnerable populations as the migrant communities. The group also discussed evidence of resilience among the population such as the role of monasteries and spirituality in psychological recovery and the impact of the initial local response. From broader discussion of the simulation scenario, it was possible to identify aspects of resilience for further study in a wider research project, such as identifying hazardous slopes from satellite mapping, informing the fieldwork program, designing social questionnaires to understand risk perception and formulating questions to guide focus-group discussions on community resilience.
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