Landslides impacts are high in less developed countries, particularly in tropical areas where a combination of active tectonics, steep topography, intense rainfall and high population density is found. This is a combination that is found in many places over the Kivu Rift (RDC, Rwanda, Burundi), the landslide-prone region where MODUS focus. MODUS aims to investigate the characteristics of the landslides processes affecting the region, with a special focus on the city of Bukavu (DR Congo).
A series of remote sensing techniques - ranging from ground-based close-range to spaceborne techniques - will be employed to reach this aim. Those techniques will, for instance, serve to the measurement of the ground surface velocity fields over the area. The analysis of the latter will provide an essential piece of information to better define the parameters that are controlling the dynamics of landslides in the region, an analysis that is useful for both scientific and hazard-related purpose. To reach this goal, a multitemporal, multiscale and multi-sensor study will be built, the latter being needed to characterise the signature of distinct parameters, with various range of temporal variability and ground surface parameters.
The city of Bukavu counts currently ~800 000 inhabitants but is characterized by a rapid uncontrolled expansion. The continuously moving landslides are there responsible for a continuous degradation and destruction of houses, buildings and roads, but also of the water networks and sewerage infrastructures in several districts of the town. The methods that will be developed in MODUS will allow a better detection and delineation of the landslides affecting Bukavu, contributing to the update of the landslide inventory that serves as a basis for the assessment of the landslide susceptibility, hazard, and risk. In the long term, these products are essential to identify suitable strategies to mitigate the negative impacts of these mass movements. The knowledge acquired with this project could thus be transposed to understand processes and develop mitigation strategies also for landslide affecting other cities of the tropics, many facing similar problematics such as slope instabilities, urban sprawl and poverty.