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The Editorial Analysis- Wake-up Call

Landslides- Relevance for UPSC Exam

  • GS Paper 1: Salient features of world’s physical geography- Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone etc.

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Landslides in Manipur in news

  • Recently, more than 40 people have died in the landslide, which hit a railway construction site in Manipur.
  • Rescue teams in the north-eastern Indian state of Manipur are searching for 20 missing people, days after a massive landslide.

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Landslides in Manipur

  • Cause of the Landslide: The tragic disaster has been compounded by the debris of the landslide blocking the Ijei river, creating a significant welling up of water which could inundate low-lying areas if the “dam”-like structure is breached.
    • While the administration has sought to ease the water outflow from the stored water, inclement weather has hampered the pace of the efforts.
  • Steps to be taken: the government and disaster management officials must now take precautions to ensure that the consequences of the disaster do not snowball even further.
  • Frequency: the number of such incidents in Manipur are very high.
    • However, Himalayan States in northern India and other States with hill/ghat terrain such as Kerala have registered the bulk of landslides in the last decade or so according to government data.
  • Concerns: Environment Ministry has itself acknowledged that the disasters were “anthropogenically” induced are a matter of serious concern for the State. The Ministry identified the causes of landslides in Manipur as a result of-
    • Modification of slopes for construction,
    • Widening of road,
    • Quarrying for construction materials,
    • Fragile lithography,
    • Complex geological structures and
    • Heavy rainfall

संपादकीय विश्लेषण- वेक-अप कॉल


  • About: Landslides occur when masses of rock, earth, or debris move down a slope. Debris flows, also known as mudslides, are a common type of fast-moving landslide that tends to flow in channels.
  • Causes: Landslides are caused by disturbances in the natural stability of a slope.
    • They can accompany heavy rains or follow droughts, earthquakes, or volcanic eruptions.
    • Mudslides develop when water rapidly accumulates in the ground and results in a surge of water-saturated rock, earth, and debris.
    • Mudslides usually start on steep slopes and can be activated by natural disasters.
    • Areas where wildfires or human modification of the land have destroyed vegetation on slopes are particularly vulnerable to landslides during and after heavy rains.
  • Landslide prone Areas: Some areas are more likely to experience landslides or mudflows, including:
    • Areas where wildfires or human modification of the land have destroyed vegetation;
    • Areas where landslides have occurred before;
    • Steep slopes and areas at the bottom of slopes or canyons;
    • Slopes that have been altered for construction of buildings and roads;
    • Channels along a stream or river; and
    • Areas where surface runoff is directed.



Way Forward

  • As a post-facto exercise, the State government must look at whether sufficient soil and stability tests were done before choosing the site for railway construction work in the Tupul area.
    • Researchers have corroborated the fact that the areas in western Manipur abutting the national highways fall under very high, high or moderate hazard zones.
  • The severe landslide occurred in the Tupul area despite the government identifying susceptible areas in the State through the National Landslide Susceptibility Mapping project.
    • The uncertain nature of rains, with the monsoon being more intense this year compared to predictions, has added to the problem.
  • An early warning system for landslides is still being developed and refined by the Geological Survey of India and this could help reduce the scale of such disasters, once deployed across vulnerable States.




  • While it is understandable that States in the Northeast are keen on accelerating connectivity projects to uplift a relatively economically backward region, disasters such as the landslide in Tupul point to the dangers of not taking ecological challenges related to deforestation seriously enough.

Disaster Management: Understanding the basics

Disaster Management: Understanding the basics

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