Interactive Socio-Technical Practicum

Improving Landslide Risk Communication in the Mandi District

Students: Julian Baumgartel, IIT; Niamh Fennessy, WPI; Sagar Ghai, IIT; Yoon Kyong Lee, WPI; Karan Mahajan, IIT; Nicole Mikolajczak , WPI.
Project Advisors: Dr. Varun Dutt, IIT; Dr. Stephen McCauley, WPI; Dr. Ingrid Shockey, WPI

Our goal was to develop, evaluate, and improve landslide risk communication strategies in Mandi, a region affected by pervasive landslides. Policymakers, scientists and village residents were interviewed to understand how the stakeholders experience landslides. We determined the key gaps in knowledge, specifically regarding landslide causes and signs, the residents' perceptions of risks and the hazard maps, and the current communication strategies. We developed an educational plan and an SMS‐based risk communication system that includes early warning system and informational messages.

Project Outcomes

From the analysis of our results, two main problems with the current conditions emerged:a lack of landslide education for residents, and a gap in risk communication between policy makers, scientists, and residents, particularly regarding the dissemination of landslide warnings and alerts. To address these shortcomings, we have formulated two recommendations,supported by SWOT analysis and cost‐beneit analysis.

  • Develop an education plan to implement in conjunction with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP)'s Earthquake Education Program.
  • Implement a risk communication strategy utilizing mobile phones and SMS messaging to inform stakeholders of landslide occurrences.

Please download executive summary, report and poster for more details