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Infrastructure Vulnerability to Climatic Disasters in Bhutan

Geoneon, in partnership with Terranum, the Department of Disaster Management, and the Department of Roads in Bhutan, implemented an earth-observation analysis solution to assess the financial vulnerability of infrastructures to slope instabilities and floods to support disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation.

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About the Climate Innovation Challenge

Sixteen innovations from around the world have won the Climate Innovation Challenge (CIC) for their disruptive and cutting-edge technologies to build communities’ resilience against the threat of climate change in South Asia.

The Program for Asia Resilience to Climate Change, a trust fund administered by the World Bank and funded by the United Kingdom’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), has made US$3.5 million available to ADPC to identify and pilot innovations to reduce climate risk and build climate resilience of communities vulnerable to such risks and extremes.

Industry: Government

Area Size: 400 km2

Location: Bhutan

Partners: Department of Disaster Management (Bhutan), Department of Roads (Bhutan), Terranum 

Solutions:

  • Landslide

  • Flood

Project Description

In Bhutan, more than 70% of the population and infrastructures are located along the main river basins, making them particularly exposed to floods and landslides caused by more frequent extreme weather events.

Geoneon, in partnership with Terranum, implemented a solution for the Climate Innovation Challenge (CIC) of the Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC) to assess the vulnerability of infrastructures to slope instabilities and floods in Bhutan to support the development of strategies for disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation.

The aim of the pilot was to identify hot spots where critical infrastructures are the most vulnerable to climatic disaster, so to support decision-makers to develop appropriate mitigation and monitoring measures to reduce the number of affected people, direct economic loss, damage to critical infrastructure, and disruption of critical services to the community.

This pilot delivered, for both Phuentsholing - Pasakha and Gelephu watersheds in Bhutan – about 400km2 –, the following outputs, which achieved the agreed scope of work:
  • Very-high resolution and multi-band satellite data covering the pilot area of interest.
  • An infrastructure model based on replacement value metric.
  • An inventory of existing sudden shallow landslides or other erosional processes, and of permanent large deep-seated slow-moving earth- and rock- slides.
  • Rockfall, debris flow, large torrent, and flood susceptibility maps.
  • A vulnerability model of buildings, roads, and power lines to rockfall, debris flow, and flood at a grid resolution of 30-by-30 meters.
  • Recommendations about mitigation measures.

The web-maps presenting the different hazard susceptibility and vulnerability (see below) are a valuable resource for the Department of Disaster Management to promote awareness and communicate with local governments about disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation. Especially in areas where limited information is available.

The pilot has demonstrated that it is possible to have a methodology using mainly satellite data and advanced algorithms, including machine learning, as a fast and scalable way to identify infrastructure vulnerability hotspots that can be applied anywhere in the world.

Maps

Browse the project maps.

Gelephu

Infrastructure Model

Rockfall Susceptibility

Debris Flow Susceptibility

Large Torrent Susceptibility

Flood Susceptibility

Rockfall Vulnerability

Debris Flow Vulnerability

Large Torrent Vulnerability

Flood Vulnerability


Phuentsholing - Pasakha

Infrastructure Model

Rockfall Susceptibility

Debris Flow Susceptibility

Large Torrent Susceptibility

Flood Susceptibility

Rockfall Vulnerability

Debris Flow Vulnerability

Large Torrent Vulnerability

Flood Vulnerability