Sirens to Forewarn Landslides: Innovative Device Making a Difference in Nepal
Kathmandu – Nepal’s diverse geographical terrain, characterized by rivers, hills, and steep lands, coupled with haphazard and unscientific development, poses significant risks, and one such peril is landslides.
According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Authority, the country has experienced 554 landslides in the past year alone, resulting in the loss of 101 lives, injuring 85, and leaving 22 people missing. The financial toll of these incidents amounts to a staggering 61 crore rupees.
Landslides, being natural disasters, are unpredictable in their timing. However, advancements in technology have made it possible to anticipate their occurrence, thus mitigating potential risks. A revolutionary device developed four years ago by Ramalakshman Innovation is spearheading this crucial work in Nepal. This cutting-edge technology, known as the “Landslide Indicator Device” or “Early Warning System of Landslide,” has already been successfully deployed in various high-risk areas across the country.
The president of Ramalakshman Innovation, Mr. Rimal, expressed the device’s primary purpose: providing early warnings to settlements prone to landslides and thereby minimizing human casualties.
The device functions effectively across a wide temperature range, from -20 to 60 degrees Celsius. It consists of two main components: a sensor-equipped device buried at a 90-degree angle in landslide-prone areas and a receiver fitted with a siren, strategically positioned near settlements or villages. The two devices should be situated at a distance of approximately 500 meters from each other.
Nepal experiences landslides due to heavy rainfall, which saturates the soil, causing it to succumb to gravity and slide down slopes. Additionally, dry landslides can occur, often triggered by earthquakes and other factors. While predicting earthquakes remains challenging, the early detection of landslides is more feasible with the landslide indicator device.
The device’s multiple sensors, including rain, inclination, and acceleration sensors, gather critical data on environmental conditions. The built-in Artificial Neural Network algorithm empowers the device to learn and optimize siren activation thresholds over time.
The sound of the siren serves as a warning signal to evacuate and seek safety. The device avoids false alarms by cross-referencing data from all its sensors and considers various factors before triggering the siren. The receiver unit, displaying real-time sensor data every five seconds, operates wirelessly on a 315 MHz radio frequency.
With a lead-acid battery capable of lasting one to two years, the device’s cost-effectiveness is one of its strengths compared to other expensive landslide prediction techniques. The receiver can be powered by electricity or solar energy.
The company, currently handling the design, research, and development of the device, also oversees its installation at relevant sites. Priced at one and a half to two lakh rupees, the device comes with a two-year replacement and three-year service warranty. The future plan is to upgrade the system to provide critical information to local disaster management agencies, enabling prompt rescue and relief operations in landslide-affected areas.
With this technology, Nepal takes a significant step towards better disaster preparedness and risk reduction, safeguarding lives and livelihoods from the devastating impact of landslides.