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Koshi Basin Programme contributes to transboundary hazard management between China and Nepal TEXT SIZE: A A A

Zhangmu, a major border town connecting China and Nepal and perched at an altitude of 2,300m, plays an important role in securing and promoting two countries’ trade development with a total trade value of 1.2 billion USD in 2012.  Though the town has around 2,000 permanent residents only, it welcomes an estimated 40,000 tourists, traders and businessmen every year. Unfortunately this important border trading post and adjoining areas are also vulnerable to natural hazard risks such as landslide, debris flow and GLOF.


     Zhangmu Project Evaluation Meeting(by IMHE)

In 2013-14, the
Zhangmu Landslide Exploration Project, undertaken by the Institute of Mountain Hazard and Environment (IMHE), CAS has reached several staged progresses. This project completed a comprehensive study on the area’s landscape, hydrology, precipitation, geology, and local economy, and prepared a landslide risk reduction plan in close consultation with the Department of Land and Resources of Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) and Nyalam County Authorities. The landslide risk reduction plan has been endorsed by experts, TAR’s Land and Resources Department and Zhangmu Township Government and currently is being implemented by the local government. This will benefit the people living and working in this area and secure the town’s role as a trading hub to underpin the growing bilateral economic relations between China and Nepal. The officials from TAR’s concerned departments also expressed gratitude towards the project, and hoped that similar research could be conducted to offer possible response plans for other types of natural hazards such as debris flow and GLOF in the region.

Currently, a team from the Koshi Basin Programme (KBP) of the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) is continuing the efforts in similar setting in the downstream town in Nepal to initiate a basic hazard early warning system between China and Nepal. An early plan of an Early Warning System has been prepared based on initial field visits. And the KBP team is following on this plan through a field investigation by a joint Nepali-Chinese expert team. Apart from scientific study the team will attempt to involve people from both countries in controlling and coping with natural hazards in a transboundary setting. The KBP team expects that this will enhance transboundary cooperation among the effected communities across China and Nepal to reduce disaster risk and deliver positive impact on natural hazard risk reduction in the region.

Furthermore, the KBP team also published a peer-reviewed paper on the water hazards in the transboundary Koshi River basin in 2013, which describes the types and characteristics of water hazards in the Koshi River basin and proposes a set of mitigating strategies and measures. The knowledge gained would be valuable for dealing with multiple water hazards in similar transboundary river basins in the Hindu Kush Himalayan region. The work is continued in 2014 through detailed study on landslides in the basin to trace the causal factors, and understanding of GLOF process and impact in three selected sites.

These activities were jointly supported by the international cooperation project “Water management and hazard risk reduction related policy and institutional analysis in China for Koshi River Basin Management” funded by the Australian Government through the Koshi Basin Programme at the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD).
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