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Co-PREPARE project: Our first-year journey

It has been almost a year of the Co-PREPARE journey and we are following our envisioned path. We are excited to share with you our journey till now.

Over the period of one year, many students and early career researchers have come together to be a part of the project and align with the vision of the Co-PREPARE. The team is building synergy across the research areas to create holistic natural hazard perspectives in the Indian Himalayan region.

Research cannot happen in isolation and the Co-PREPARE team is deliberate in creating a long-term collaboration among researchers. In the current year, we have onboarded two Ph.D. students, four master's students, and two project -coordinators (at IITR and UP) for strengthening the various aspects of the Co-PREPARE project. We are also facilitating the researcher’s participation through the COPREPARE Conference Grant (CCG) in NatRiskChange 2021 conference to strengthen collaboration.

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At Co-PREPARE, we are not only committed to synergic and collaborative research but also to the dissemination of such research and knowledge to a larger knowledge-seeking group.

Our UDAN initiative focuses on the same aspect. As a part of the COPREPARE project commitment to generate actionable knowledge, a lecture series UDAN (Understanding the DynAmics of the Natural Hazards in the Himalayas) has been initiated. All the UDAN lectures are open to all and anyone interested can register and attend the lecture. By doing so, we managed to create a specific international research group interested in the topic. Under this initiative, six lectures have been conducted so far and we have covered topics like, "Emerging eco-climatic hazards in the Himalayas" by Prof. Jagdish Krishnaswamy, "How debris damages dams - and why we need geomorphology in hydropower safety assessment" by Dr. Wolfgang Schwanghart, "Climate of the Himalayas" by Prof. A.P. Dimri, "Climate-change impact on Himalayan hydrology: Recent advances and future challenges in understanding Asia's water towers" by Prof. Walter W. Immerzeel, "Glacial lake outburst floods: anatomy, impacts, and disaster risk reduction" by Dr. Matt Westoby, and "The hum of an active Earth surface: insight to hazardous mass wasting events from seismic sensors" by Dr. Michael Dietze.

Recordings of all the lectures are available here (Lectures Link)

Rock-ice avalanche event on 7th February 2021 in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand and subsequent devastation in Ronti Gad, Rishiganga, and Dhauliganga valleys are grim reminders of the cascading effect of natural hazards as well as the fragility of the Himalayan ecosystem. Extreme events are on a rise in the region. Uttarakhand saw 24 cloudburst events in May 2021 alone. (Source: sandrp.in)

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The Co-PREPARE team is at the forefront of sensing current challenges and has envisioned a collaborative effort to tackle them.

Co-PREPARE members are working with global scientists to understand the science of such events. In the recent publication in Science led by Dr. Dan Shugar and the global scientific community (which included Dr. Wolfgang Schwanghart (, Co-PREPARE team member) captured the Rock-ice avalanche event at Chamoli, Indian Himalaya, (Link: https://doi.org/10.1126/science.abh4455) and highlights the primary drivers for the severity of the Chamoli disaster. The research emphasized three drivers. 1)The extraordinary fall height, providing ample gravitational potential energy; 2)The worst-case rock:ice ratio, which resulted in almost complete melting of the glacier ice, enhancing the mobility of the debris flow; and 3) The unfortunate location of multiple hydropower plants in the direct path of the flow. Research also underlines the need for , a) a deeper understanding of clean energy development, climate change adaptation, disaster governance, conservation, environmental justice, and sustainable development in the Himalaya and other high-mountain environments, b) an understanding of the cause and impact of mountain hazards, leading to disasters, and c) investigation of emerging socio-economic impacts caused by such event.

16 papers were published by the Co-PREPARE members in peer review journals. The list can be found here (Publication Link).

At CO-PREPARE we also want to spread awareness to a wider audience and to cater to that vision we have created postcards for Christmas and New Year.