St. Lucia a “success story” for managing risk of landslides, says World Bank

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St. Lucia a “success story” for managing risk of landslides, says World Bank
A recent landslide in Soufriere.
A recent landslide in Soufriere.

Saint Lucia is said to be a success story within the region for its efforts in managing the risk of rainfall-triggered landslides.

A new initiative, implemented with the help of the World Bank, has provided the Saint Lucian government with crucial information about the causes of landslides as well as an insight into the most at-risk areas.

Addressing both the effects and causes of landslides, the Management of Slope Stability in Communities, or MoSSaiC project, reduced the risk with a three-pronged approach:

• Science-based: Physical causes are localized and appropriate measures designed to address these causes.

• Community-based: Residents are engaged in identifying causes and solutions. Additionally, community-based contractors and workers are employed to construct drainage solutions, increasing access to employment, education and training in the communities.

• Evidence-based: Rigorous and effective quality is maintained through training and design standards. Appropriate physical solutions are then delivered to reduce the landslide risk.

And it’s an approach that works. In October 2010, despite rainfall of 50 centimeters in just 24 hours, all of the hillside communities of Castries, who had implemented the MoSSaiC programme, weathered the storm without landslides. Prior to the project, these same hillsides would have shown signs of instability during much lighter rainfalls.

Given the success of the MoSSaic project so far, a new book has now been published by the World Bank.

The aim is to give other communities facing the same landslide risks the opportunity to implement the initiative’s techniques and strategies.

Based on the experiences of the communities involved, the book, along with online resources, is already being used by communities, governments, and disaster risk management practitioners to implement a community-based solution to high risk areas.

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