Hong Kong’s New Approach to the Landslip Warning System
Larissa Chalouhi, Pawzfeed Editor, The Pawprint
Hong kong is vulnerable to landslides because 60% of the whole country is on the mountains with a very dense population. There are an average of 300 landslides every single year in the city.
During the Cop 26 conference a few of Hong Kong’s climate action plan will focus on electricity, waste, and transport as they have noticed these are the main factors causing global warming.
Climate change can lead to more landslides as it changes the movement of the slope. Since this is a severe problem in Hong Kong their approach to preventing landslides was different as they first notify city officials and most importantly let the public know about what is happening.
One thing that was newly added was to notify the public during heavy rainfall, this way TV channels, News reporters, and radio stations can all broadcast and alert the public, the government found out that this is one of the precautions that could save a lot of people’s lives.
The GEO also known as the General Engineering Office of Hong kong combines several data sources to decide on whether to issue the warning. “We have statistics showing that 90% of landslide fatalities occurred when the landslip warning was in force,” says Lawrence Shum Ka Wah, chief geotechnical engineer at the GEO. “Landslides only come from slopes. If people stay away from slopes, there will be no casualties. So early warning is very important.”
It takes many environmental experts in Hong Kong to make decisions to continuously improve the system. One major influence was the geotechnical engineers who have done much to decrease the risk of landslides. They now understand how they form, the geometry, and formation of these landslides which allow further information to be conducted.
One important thing that was discovered by Hong Kong’s geotechnical engineers is the landslide potential index, which is a statistical model which measures how high and fatal the landslide will become.
Hong Kong is making a plan and putting the plan in action to achieve their Cop 2026 goals, and as a result this is one step closer to accomplishing the United Nations sustainability goals.
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