US gives landslide monitoring technology, training to Sri Lanka

ECONOMYNEXT- Sri Lanka’s National Building Research Organization (NBRO) has received landslide monitoring instruments and training from the US to manage risks, the US Embassy in Colombo said in a statement.

Engineers and geologists from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) visited Sri Lanka to partner with Sri Lanka’s scientists to install the equipment in Nkgaha, Kalutara area.

The equipment will help identify areas vulnerable to landslides, using technology such as Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR), a very precise method to measure changes in the surface of the earth.

It will help the NRBO to remotely monitor groundwater levels and rainfall in areas at risk for landslides.

The USGS team trained NBRO staff on improving the quality of landslide mapping, the use of high resolution topographic data, and the role scientists can play during disaster response.

Landslide data collected in the field can be analysed using tablet computers.

“Better preparedness will help save lives,” US Ambassador to Sri Lanka Alaina B. Teplitz said in a statement.

“This equipment will enable NBRO to issue targeted regional landslide warnings, which are crucial for rural communities.”

Sri Lanka is prone to landslides due to monsoon rainfall, population growth, and new construction in the country’s hilly interior.

The equipment, installations, and the research exchange were supported through the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Since 2018, USGS and USAID/OFDA have worked with NBRO reduce landslide risk and save lives. (Colombo/Dec03/2019)