Research Needs for Debris Flow Disaster Prevention

by T. R. Davies, Lincoln Univ, Canterbury, New Zealand,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Hydraulic Engineering


A 'soft' disaster reduction strategy is proposed based on identification of hazard location, extent and maximum intensity; monitoring of antecedent catchment moisture, sediment and vegetation conditions; and forecasting of intense precipitation or snowmelt, so that a warning-evacuation procedure can be implemented that will reliably prevent deaths due to debris-flow. In order to increase the reliability and public acceptability of such a strategy, research is urgently needed to:(i) better identify catchment areas susceptible to debris flow (or flash flood); (ii) better understand the geotechnical/hydrological conditions necessary for initiation of a debris flow; (iii) improve ability to monitor conditions in inaccessible catchments regularly and reliably; (iv) more reliably forecast the occurrence of intense rain or snowmelt in a given catchment at least 12 ( and preferably 24) hours in advance; (v) better understand public perception of debris flow and flash flood hazards; device methods of informing the public realistically about the hazards present; involve the public in the decision-making and implementation processes, and in the operation of the 'soft' strategy, so that public response to evacuation decisions remains consistently good.

Subject Headings: Solids flow | Public health and safety | Debris | Disaster warning systems | Natural disasters | Public transportation | Catchments | Geohazards

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