Acts of God are not the problem

Seth Sicroff

Abstract

Mountain tourism both increases the risks posed by mountain hazards and also provides the economic opportunity to effectively cope with those hazards. Salient points and recommendations from participants in “Mountain Hazards, Mountain Tourism” e-conference include:
  • Although climate change is increasing the likelihood of glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs), we now have the scientific tools to monitor and quantify such hazards.
  • Unfortunately, those tools are not being used on a regular basis. This increases the hazard of media sensationalism, which in turn increases the risk of serious economic damage as well as lost scientific credibility.
  • Contrary to published reports, the hazard mitigation project at Tsho Rolpa in Rolwaling was left in an incomplete state and without provision for scientific monitoring; the lake still poses a great risk.
  • More attention must be paid to the human component of mountain hazards. Ethnic cleansing programs such as the current disaster in Bhutan cause suffering and economic damage on a scale that beggars most natural events.
  • A useful step toward the rational confrontation with all sorts of disasters (not just those that impact mountains) would be the conversion of King Gyanendra’s palace into a Disaster Management University.

    Himalayan Journal of Sciences Vol.4(6) 2007 p.11-19

Keywords

hazards; disasters
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