Earth observation and landslide research (Ethiopia)

BGS Research — Global geological risk

BGS scientists are collaborating with researchers from the Institute for Geoscience, Space Science and Astronomy (IGSSA) at Addis Ababa University to improve knowledge of landslide susceptibility in Ethiopia. We are also co-developing novel Earth observation systems to detect and monitor landslides.

Landslide risk in Ethiopia

Landslides are particularly common in Ethiopia between July and September, which is the main wet season, as well as April and May when there is heavy seasonal rain. Millions of people in Ethiopia live in areas at risk from landslides, with the annual average damage to building stock expected to be US$3 million (estimated by World Bank). Improving our understanding of landslide risk is very important to help build resilience and ensure sustainable development.

Collaborative research

There are two main avenues of collaborative research taking place within the project.

The BGS delivered a national landslide susceptibility model for Arup as part of the World Bank-funded national landslide risk project. Building on that desk-based analysis, researchers from both the BGS and Addis Ababa University are collaborating to improve and update the susceptibility results using a more complete landslide inventory and revised input data such as elevation models and in-country expertise.

Satellite Earth observation data enables us to monitor large regions remotely. In Ethiopia, we are using novel interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) techniques to monitor landslide motion. Using this method, we have been able to build up a time series of ground deformation from 2015 to the present, showing the details of how landslide movement can change with time.


If you want to discover more then please contact either Claire Dashwood at the BGS or Getnet Mewa at Addis Ababa University.

You may also be interested in

BGS Global Geoscience

International geoscience

The BGS is active across the globe delivering institutional strengthening programmes and applied research projects across a wide variety of sectors.

Show more
Pyroclastic flow engulfing a house in Monserrat

Global geological risk

Our research focuses on characterising complex, multi-hazard processes with the aim of improving resilience of communities to hazards.

Show more

Was this page helpful?

  • How can we make this section better?*

  • Please select a reason*

  • How can we make this section better?*