Help Laprak Village
Laprak is situated in the northern part of Gorkha district in the western parts of Nepal. It is 65 km from Gorkha district headquarter. It can be reached in a day by jeep and 1 day drive and one day walk from the district headquarter Gorkha Bazar. There are 592 households in Laprak village and has 4,000 population. Gurungs (98%) and Dalits (2%) are main residents in Laprak village. Following a continuous rainfall for more than 24 hours, Laprak Landslide took place on 3rd July 1999 (19 Ashad , 2056) sweeping away one woman, 5 houses & some 2 hectares (40 ropanies) of cultivated land along sides of the Chhelong Khola and ever since, the Landslide is posing a great threat to the entire Laprak village. Laprak village was itself dangerous of landslide of Gorkha district. On 25th April 2015, there was devastating earthquake an epic centre had totally collapsed all the houses, schools, health post and government offices and destroyed the whole village.
Laprak village is situated on a steep slope facing north at an elevation of 2100 m (6930 feet) from the mean Sea Level (MSL) and is fed by the Raizo river at its toe. Laprak village is situated on an old landslide deposited colluvial soil mass. The soil deposit varies from place to place within the Landslide area presumably from 5 to 15 m. The rock type consists of mica schist, phyletic quartzite and gneiss. The rock bed is estimated to be at a depth of 5 to 15 m from the top soil and is facing semi parallel to the slope.
3. Present situation of the Landslide:
Though the Laprak Landslide first took place in July 1999, it is still active and continuously expanding, especially during the monsoon period. According to the classification of Landslide, it is a complex one. There are rotational as well as translational Landslides. Particularly the soil deposit along the sides of the Chhelong Khola is moving down year after year and the houses at the vicinity of this Khola are more vulnerable. There are also many large tension cracks measuring in width from 15 to 35 cm and length from 3 to 9 m. The landslide is 70 to 600 m wide and 1470 m long. New crevasses and fissures (tension cracks) are developing in and around the village.
4. Effect of the Landslide:
Presumably because of the Landslide, almost more than 90% existing houses in Laprak village have suffered many cracks on the floor and wall and the foundation has gone under the differential settlement. In consequence, most houses are bulged and tilted. These houses, since are made of thick dry stone walls, there is a possibility of more casualty in the event of collapse of these buildings. Even a small Richter scale earthquake or any type of ground movement may trigger the existing houses crumbled and thereby may kill people live there in. Therefore the first priority should be given in making the existing houses restructured as part of the Laprak Landslide mitigation and control.
5. Recommended preventive and control measures:
I. For Laprak, the best way would be shifting locals to other safer locations. Unfortunately, there is no suitable place in the vicinity of Laprak village to shift the whole 650 houses. However, the recent study has considered a location suitable for the settlement, which lies at an elevation of 2750m Gupsi Pakha which is 1 ½ hour walking distant from Laprak, which may accommodate the whole village. Migration to the headquarter, to the southern part of Nepal Terai areas seem to be ineffective as most locals intend not to leave Laprak village (their birthplace) as possible as there for different reasons (cultural, social, climatic, employment, etc.) unless the whole village becomes unsuitable for living due to the landslide. Most locals do not understand the threat to their lives posed by the Landslide.
II. Since the landslide is deep and is slipping from the interface between the rock and soil mass, controlling it at this stage means investment of a huge sum of budget and if the measures are not applied correctly, there is a high probability that similar Landslides may occur in the future. The application of civil & bio-engineering structures will help control from further spreading the existing landslide but it is a slow process. At least it may take 10 to 15 years to stabilize the moving mass by this technique. For sure, these remedial measures are not effective to control the immediate movement of the active ground movement because the landslide is deep and large. Unless the structures are embedded into the rock bed, they can’t work effectively and for that, it is almost impossible to do so by the existing resource (manual excavation).
III. There is a great risk that a small ground movement or ground shaking (due to ground creep or earthquake) may trigger the existing buildings partly or completely collapse, thereby an untoward casualty may take