A landslide on the right bank of the Bhote Koshi

Nepal faces a double whammy of floods and landslides every year. Often considered a secondary hazard, landslides are usually triggered by incessant rainfall falling upon hilly and unstable slopes in Nepal’s predominantly mountainous terrain.

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In the Hindu Kush and Himalayan mountain ranges, the stunning landscape that makes the region so iconic is also creating a serious obstacle for public health – but NASA atmospheric scientists and the SERVIR programme are working to help keep mountain communities breathing easy.

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The impact of the 2022 floods on Pakistan’s rural communities and agriculture has been devastating, resulting in the loss of crops, livestock, and essential infrastructure.

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A farmer picking up lodged paddy

Assessment of floods in Nepal in October 2021, which affected seed availability, gives clues about actions to mitigate the impact of similar climate shocks on smallholder farmers.

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Bangladesh’s Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre (FFWC), under the Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB), shoulders a gargantuan task. In April and May each year, as flash floods inundate and wash away crops just before the harvesting period in Bangladesh’s north-eastern districts – Habiganj, Moulvibazar, Netrokona, Sunamganj, and Sylhet – the FFWC coordinates flood disaster mitigation and management efforts in close consultation with other line government ministries and agencies.

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The cryosphere – snow, ice, and permafrost – is an important source of water in the Hindu Kush Himalaya. Observed and projected estimates of cryosphere show changes in the timing and magnitude of stream flows across the region. Snow is important for seasonal water availability, particularly in the early melt season, and is a critical source of water for irrigation for some 1.65 billion people living in the river valleys downstream.

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Official launch of HIWAT for Bangladesh

On 30 March 2022, the Bangladesh Meteorological Department (BMD) launched the High-Impact Weather Assessment Toolkit (HIWAT) at its headquarters in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

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Malik Amin Aslam

We partnered with the Ministry of Climate Change (MoCC), Government of Pakistan, for a national consultation workshop to set the groundwork for the co-development of a geospatial platform to support the ministry’s afforestation and ecosystem restoration programmes, including the Ten Billion Tree Tsunami Programme (TBTTP).

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Environmental hazards

With rapidly growing cities, high agricultural demand, and worsening floods and wildfires, mountainous South Asian countries like Nepal must make tough choices about how to use their land – balancing economic growth, disaster mitigation, and the environment.

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