Debris flows, kinds of gravity-induced mass movements on hill slopes and/or in river channels, are usually the most hazardous phenomena in mountainous areas. They occur in response to rapid disturbances, such as torrential storms, sudden snow or glacier melting, dam break, volcano eruptions, landslides or slope failures, and earthquakes. The devastation caused by catastrophic debris flows is enormous, yet their causes, occurrences and mechanisms are not completely understood.
Debris flow hazards occur more and more frequently in recent years, perhaps as a result of climate change. Tragic stories happen everywhere, not only in rich rainfall regions, but also in arid areas, remind people protecting the environment and keep vigilance against the natural hazards. The landslide and dammed lake bursting caused 491 deaths in Siaolin village Triggered by Typhoon Morakot in 2009, and the debris flows buried 1765 deaths in Zhouqu. Thousands of people are homeless in 2010 floods in Southeastern Asia, and infrastructures are devastated widely in Wenchuan Earthquake area in China. They are really impressive, and always cause much more devastation in the developing regions than the developed regions due to the limited hazards research and mitigation level and certainly financial support, as well.
It is an unshirkable responsibility of scientists to investigate the hazards mechanism, to develop the hazards mitigation methods, to improve the hazards control technology, and ultimately help the mitigation work level of administrations. Given this background, scientists from 10 countries and/or regions, e.g. China mainland, Hong Kong, Chinese Taipei, Japan, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Kazakhstan and Thailand, proposed an Asian academic organization to promote multidisciplinary research in special areas in November, 2010. Emphasis is to provide a platform to promote the academic exchanges and to improve the hazards mitigation technology in all Asian countries. It was named Asian Network on Debris Flow (ANDF) as an unofficial organization. Conferences, trainings, transnational re-education, international plan promotion and project cooperation are the main approaches and activities. A holistic effect, and dedication spirit on the advancement of debris flow research may be expected through mutual inspiration, when specialists with different background come together.
Copyright Secretariat of the Asian Network on Debris Flow (ANDF) Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment,CAS
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