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Cardiff scientists help Nepal rescue efforts

Cardiff scientists help Nepal rescue efforts

Scientists in Cardiff are helping Nepal’s rescue efforts by trying to identify areas that may have been worst hit by landslides.

More than 5,000 people have been confirmed dead, but many more are feared trapped underground, displaced by Saturday earthquake .

Dr Robert Parker and his team at Cardiff University have developed a computer program called ShakeSlide, which maps areas most at risk of landslides.

Satellite imagery can then be used to pinpoint exactly where disaster relief teams need to go.

Dr Parker explained: “Saturday’s earthquake in Nepal occurred in one of the most landslide-prone regions in the world.

“Landslide hazards are expected to account for a substantial proportion of the losses and damages produced by this event.

“The model’s predictions provide a rapid assessment of earthquake-triggered landslide hazards and are currently being used to guide efforts to map the damage caused by Saturday’s earthquake in Nepal.”

In addition to burying homes and people, landslides can also increase the risk of flooding if rivers become blocked by debris.

The World Bank is one of the organizations working with Dr. Parker, along with disaster assessment teams in Nepal.

The information not only helps relief agencies assess the extent of damage across tens of thousands of square kilometers affected by the quake, but can also be used to highlight areas that have been weakened and could collapse in the coming weeks or during the monsoon.