Assessment of landslides in Bosnia & Herzegovina and Serbia: A Geoscientists without Borders project

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A severe storm caused floods and landslides in the Balkan region in May 2014. In response to the disaster, geophysical and geotechnical surveys were organized as a Geoscientists without Borders® (GwB) project of SEG. It took place in eight landslide prone areas in Serbia and Bosnia Herzegovina in three phases in 2015 and 2016. The seismic and electric resistivity surveys were conducted and the results were interpreted in conjunction with the geotechnical inspection. The surveys identified the size of a potential landslide layer by S-wave velocity distribution and particular high-risk locations by electric resistivity anomalies. This interpretation enhanced the geotechnical observation. From the result, several countermeasures were recommended to suit the budgetary restrictions of local governments. Among them, the survey results in the Lopare locality are presented as an example. The project was organized by the Association of Geophysicists and Environmentalists of Serbia (AGES) involving many scientists, engineers, students, government staff and local communities. As well as technical achievements, significance of the project includes: providing students with opportunities to have practical experience of geophysical surveys and to learn outside the classroom; bringing together the participants from different racial, political, religious and educational backgrounds. All were made aware of the importance of humanitarian expert work. We assessed the effectiveness of the GwB project using the guidelines of Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, Development Assistance Committee (OECD-DAC). One of the important outcomes of the assessment is that such a volunteer geoscientific survey cannot stand alone. It is more effective if incorporated in the overall recovery and prevention programs.

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