Action on Natural Disasters Update

On 25 April 2015 an earthquake hit the town of Gorkha in Nepal, 9000 people died, 22,000 were injured and 2.8 million people were left homeless; it was the worst natural disaster of 2015. This earthquake highlighted the need for the Action on Natural Disasters Doctoral Training Initiative which so many of you supported.


Four doctoral researchers received scholarships and are undertaking their research as part of this innovative training initiative at the Institute of Hazard, Risk and Resilience (IHRR). The shared theme of the four projects is earth-quake induced landslide hazards in Nepal.


Unique Training Initiative

The experts at IHRR believe that an interdisciplinary approach is vital to understand and respond to earthquakes and this is key to the unique approach taken in this programme.  

This is something which is endorsed by Katy Burrows who received a scholarship: "The way in which the programme has brought the four of us together... has introduced me to new ways of thinking about research and natural hazards, which I am sure will benefit both the work I do now and anything I end up doing in the future."

Find out more about the Earth-quake Induced Landslide Hazards theme here

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Satellite Radar

The aim of Katy’s work is to use technical advances in satellite radar imagery to map the landslides often triggered by earthquakes. Currently optical satellite imagery is used but this is often obscured by cloud. As Katy describes “the purpose of my PhD project is to develop tools which will allow this radar imagery to be used in emergency response” this will save precious time by avoiding delays following a disaster.

Katy’s work is not the only project which will make a real difference.

You can find out more about Katy's work by following her on Twitter.

Road Construction

Samprada Pradhan is working “to understand the impacts that construction of non-engineered rural roads has on the occurrence of landslides in mountainous areas.” This is particularly important as “haphazard road construction is considered as one of the main reasons behind the increasing number of landslides and landslide fatalities in Nepal”.

You can find out more about Samprada's work by following her on Twitter 

Communicating Risk

Gopi K Basyal’s project will make a direct contribution to the improvement of disaster response. He aims to explore community understanding of landslide risk and current methods of communication in order to improve these in a meaningful way. This has always been a challenge but it has become more important since the earthquakes in 2015.


Find out more about Gopi's work by following him on Twitter

Simple Rules

Communities are also the focus of Sheena Ramkumar's project. Sheena explains that the rules that have been developed elsewhere to improve safety may give the wrong advice to people in Nepal. By "understanding how rural Nepali communities behave during an earthquake and the types of hazard that they face", Sheena will develop new rules, designed for the context of rural Nepal, which are easy to remember even under duress. This project will make a real difference to those living with risk in Nepal.

Thank You

The scholars' projects will directly contribute in meaningful ways to disaster response. And the positive impact from their work, funded by you, will only be magnified in the course of their careers.

Our academics at IHRR aim to ensure that the knowledge they and our scholars acquired from the Gorka earthquake will be used to help prepare other communities at risk. And all of you who gave so generously to the Action on Natural Disasters Appeal have made this possible. 


We would all like to say, thank you.

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AND Katy Burrows
"The Action on Natural Disasters programme has provided us with an exceptional opportunity"

Katy Burrows, Scholarship Recipient

Gopi AND"I am forever grateful to those who are directly or indirectly part of this endeavour"

Gopi Krishna Basyal, Scholarship Recipient

Samprada AND

Receiving an Action on Natural Disasters Scholarship... has changed a lot about how optimistic I feel about my future."

Samprada Pradhan, Scholarship Recipient

AND Sheena Ramkumar"My heartfelt gratitude for enabling me to contribute in some way to such a meaningful and much needed multidisciplinary project, which may positively impact the lives of others."

Sheena Ramkumar, Scholarship Recipient

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