Dave Petley, an expert on landslides has been working on landslides in the Himalayas since 2000 AD. He thinks that the Himalayas are very fragile, much more so than the Alps. This is partly because geologically they are very young and are still being pushed up, partly because the climate is much more dynamic (in particular the monsoon can bring high rainfall totals in a few days) and partly because humans are much more vulnerable and less resilient. Thus, the Himalayas are in effect the global hotspot for landslide activity.
He further feels that the several thousand houses and hundreds of guest-houses should not have been built in such a vulnerable location. If they had been in a safer location then the tragedy would have been avoided. Simple approaches, like limiting development to safe locations, are much more effective than are warning systems. (To read more….)