Comprehensive landslide risk index maps for Lebanon
After receiving a USD 100,000 research grant from the PEER program in 2011, Dr. Grace Abou-Jaoude, Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering at LAU, was recently awarded a second PEER grant for USD 76,100 to develop landslide risk mapping in Lebanon. Earthquakes and landslides are common natural hazards in Lebanon given the country’s location on top of the seismically active Yammouneh fault that separates the Arabian and African tectonic plates. Historical records of damages and induced landslides from earthquakes have been reported to be proportional to the building density in the affected area. The latest discovery of an active thrusting fault close to the country’s coastline significantly raises Lebanon’s risk of being affected by a high magnitude earthquake (Elias et al. 2007). Additionally, Lebanon is categorized among countries that have high landslide hazard scores (Arnold et al. 2006). Climate change, specifically lower amounts but more intense rainfall, add a new critical factor to landslide hazards in the country (GRIP 2010). This project (PEER-RISK) builds upon the findings of the initial project (PEER-HAZARD). By developing comprehensive landslide risk index maps, the project seeks to identify areas with high risks of human loss and infrastructure damage associated with rainfall- and earthquake-induced landslide failures. The focus on landslide dangers stems from existing literature identifying these threats as highly critical even at times when first responders are engaged in rescue and recovery operations in a disaster-hit area (USGS 2010, AGS 2007).