Seismic engineering specialist Miyamoto has published a report on the landslide risk in Nepal key trekking region of Annapurna which suggests the area is safe for tourists.
The report is the result of the first official assessment of the region and was funded by Samarth-UKAID on behalf of the government of Nepal.
Consultant Miyamoto worked with a team of earthquake geotechnical experts, structural engineering experts, conservation officers from the Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP), and a leading trekking operator with its local mountain guides who provided their extensive knowledge of the region and insight into historical hazards.
“The aim of the report was to develop an overall understanding of the extent of the damage from the earthquakes so that we could assess the safety of the region’s trekking routes,” said Kit Miyamoto, the technical team leader and a structural earthquake engineer. “Conservation officers from Annapurna Conservation Area Project and trekking guides from the region were critical in helping the technical team navigate the almost 200km of trekking routes that were surveyed for earthquake-related damage.”
Nepal’s government and the tourism industry have welcomed the news that there is “very little damage” to the Annapurna region ahead of the start of the main season in September.
The assessment is believed to be the first ever completed by international earthquake engineering specialists on trekking routes in Nepal, and the recommendations include opportunities to manage potential hazards not associated with the April and May earthquakes.
Overall the report concluded that the Annapurna Circuit and Annapurna Sanctuary trails and villages appear largely undamaged by landslides following the earthquakes. However, the engineering assessment identified a number of potential hazard areas on the trek that can now be remedied as a result of the report.
Experts from Miyamoto have recommended a more in-depth follow up assessment to be completed after the monsoon season ends.
Engineers also identified existing rockfall hazards that would not have been identified without the assessment, enabling locals and trekking companies to reduce occupancy in potential hazard areas by adjusting itineraries and relocating houses and lodges to safer areas.