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The town of Joshimath, located at an altitude of 1,874 metres on the slopes of the Himalayas, is sinking. It is feared that not only this town but many settlements around could be in danger of being wiped out. People are being evacuated and governments are desperately looking for safe ground where they could be shifted temporarily. It is a human tragedy and is man-made.
The fact is that the Himalayas are the world’s youngest mountain ranges. This means that the slopes are unstable, built on moraine — practically loose soil — and so, prone to landslides and erosion. Combined with this is the fact that this region is in a highly seismic zone — it is classified as the