A Neglected Disaster: Landslides and Livelihoods in Central-Eastern Nepal

  • K. Sudmeier-Rieux
  • S. Jaquet
  • G. K. Basyal
  • M. Derron
  • S. Devkota
  • M. Jaboyedoff
  • S. Shrestha


Landslides have an underestimated impact on rural livelihoods and food security in Nepal, with little attention received from government, the international community, or researchers. Landslides are the leading natural hazard after epidemics, killing over 100 persons per year and are predicted to increase with more intense monsoon rains (Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA), Government of Nepal and Disaster Preparedness Network (DPNet) (2009) Nepal Disaster Report 2009: The Hazardscape and Vulnerability, Kathmandu). This paper explores current landslide trends in Nepal and impacts on rural development. Six communities in Central-Eastern Nepal were studied; four of landslide-affected rural communities, and for comparison’s sake, two are flood-affected urban areas. The research links geological knowledge about landslides with a social analysis of affected populations. The study’s methods are interdisciplinary, combining a geological assessment of landslides, with participatory social science research methods. Results show that landslides are very costly for households, often obliging them to convert or abandon rice fields, reconstruct their houses, or migrate abroad, considerably affecting food security. The goal of this research is to contribute to the literature on integrated approaches to landslide risk reduction.


Landslides Rural development Livelihoods Food security Coping strategies 



This research was entirely funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (grant 26083591) during the period 2009–2011, for which we are extremely grateful.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. Sudmeier-Rieux
    • 1
  • S. Jaquet
    • 1
  • G. K. Basyal
    • 2
  • M. Derron
    • 1
  • S. Devkota
    • 3
  • M. Jaboyedoff
    • 1
  • S. Shrestha
    • 4
  1. 1.Faculty of Geosciences and GeomaticsUniversity of Lausanne, Institute of Geomatics and Risk AnalysisLausanneSwitzerland
  2. 2.National Society for Earthquake Technology – Nepal (NSET)KathmanduNepal
  3. 3.FEED (P) LtdKathmanduNepal
  4. 4.Mercy CorpsKathmanduNepal

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