Disaster In Uttarakhand 2013 Essay Examples

In June 2013, a multi-day cloudburst centered on the North Indian state Uttarakhand caused devastating floods and landslides becoming the country's worst natural disaster since the 2004 tsunami. The reason the floods occurred was that the rainfall received was on a larger scale than the regular rainfall the state usually received . The debris blocked up the rivers, causing major overflow. The main day of the flood is said to be on 16 June 2013. Though some parts of Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh in India experienced the heavy rainfall, some regions of Western Nepal, and some parts of Western Tibet also experienced heavy rainfall, over 89% of the casualties occurred in Uttarakhand. As of 16 July 2013[update], according to figures provided by the Uttarakhand government, more than 5,700 people were "presumed dead."[2] This total included 934 local residents.[3]

Destruction of bridges and roads left about 100,000 pilgrims and tourists trapped in the valleys leading to three of the four HinduChota Char Dham pilgrimage sites.[4][5][6][7][8][9][10] The Indian Air Force, the Indian Army, and paramilitary troops evacuated more than 110,000 people from the flood ravaged area.[5]

Origin[edit]

From 14 to 17 June 2013, the Indian state of Uttarakhand and adjoining areas received heavy rainfall, which was about 375% more than the benchmark rainfall during a normal monsoon.[11] This caused the melting of Chorabari Glacier at the height of 3800 metres, and eruption of the Mandakini River[12] which led to heavy floods near Gobindghat, Kedar Dome, Rudraprayag district, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Western Nepal, and acute rainfall in other nearby regions of Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and some parts of Tibet.[13]

The upper Himalayan territories of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand are full of forests and snow-covered mountains and thus remain relatively inaccessible. They are home to several major and historic Hindu and Sikh pilgrimage sites besides several tourist spots and trekking trails. Heavy rainfall for four consecutive days as well as melting snow aggravated the floods.[14] Warnings by the India Meteorological Department predicting heavy rains were not given wide publicity beforehand, causing thousands of people to be caught unaware, resulting in huge loss of life and property.

Landslides, due to the floods, damaged several houses and structures, killing those who were trapped.[4][14] The heavy rains resulted in large flashfloods and massive landslides.[13] Entire villages and settlements such as Gaurikund and the market town of Ram Bada, a transition point to Kedarnath, had been obliterated, while the market town of Sonprayag suffered heavy damage and loss of lives.[8][15] Pilgrimage centres in the region, including Gangotri, Yamunotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath, the hallowed Hindu Chardham (four sites) pilgrimage centers, are usually visited by thousands of devotees, especially after the month of July on wards. Over 70,000 people were stuck in various regions because of damaged or blocked roads.[14] People in other important locations like the Valley of flowers, Roopkund and the Sikh pilgrimage centre Hemkund were stranded for more than three days.[14]National Highway 58, an important artery connecting the region was also washed away near Jyotirmath and in many other places.[15] Because summers have more number of tourists, the number of people impacted is substantial.[16] For more than three days, stranded pilgrims and tourists were without rations or survived on little food.[17] The roads were seriously damaged at more than 450 places, resulting in huge traffic jams, and the floods caused many cars and other vehicles to be washed away.[14] On 18 June, more than 12,000 pilgrims were stranded at Badrinath, the popular pilgrimage center located on the banks of the Alaknanda River.[18][19][20] Rescuers at the Hindu pilgrimage town of Haridwar on the river Ganga recovered bodies of 40 victims washed down by the flooded rivers as of 21 June 2013.[21] Bodies of people washed away in Uttarakhand were found in distant places like Bijnor, Allahabad and Bulandshahr in Uttar Pradesh.[22] Searching for bodies who died during the extreme natural fury of June in Kedar valley continued for several months and even as late as September, 2013, about 556 bodies were found out of which 166 bodies were found in highly decomposed state during fourth round of search operations.[23]

Although the Kedarnath Temple itself was not damaged, its base was inundated with water, mud and boulders from the landslide, damaging its perimeter.[19] Many hotels, rest houses and shops around the temple in Kedarnath township were destroyed, resulting in several casualties. Most of the destruction at Kedarnath was caused by a sudden rapid melting of ice and snow on the Kedarnath Mountain, 6 km (3.7 mi) from the temple, which flooded the Charbari lake (upstream) and then Kedarnath. The temple was flooded with water resulting in several deaths due to drowning and panic-driven stampede.[24] Even after a week, dead bodies had not been removed from Kedarnath town, resulting in water contamination in the Kedarnath valley and villagers who depend on spring water suffered various types of health problems like fever, diarrhoea.[4][25] When the flood receded, satellite images showed one new stream at Kedarnath town. No damage at the Kedarnath Temple occurred. The Uttarakhand Government announced that due to the extensive damage to the infrastructure, the temple will be temporarily closed to regular pilgrims and tourists for a year or two, but the temple rituals will still be maintained by priests.[26][27][28] The Temple opened for pilgrims on Sunday, 4 May 2014. [29]

Other regions Affected by the disaster[edit]

National Capital Region[edit]

New Delhi, Gurgaon and surrounding areas received a high amount of rainfall on 16 June 2013, leading to flooding of the low-lying areas of the cities.[30] The Yamuna River swelled to a new height of 207.75 meters submerging the low lying flood plains along the banks.[31][32]

Uttar Pradesh[edit]

Six-hundred and eight villages, covering a population of 700,000, in 23 districts of Uttar Pradesh were affected by the flood and drought. As of 11 July 2013[update] more than 120 deaths were reported from the state.The number of people who went to Uttarakhand were maximum from Uttar Pradesh [33]

Himachal Pradesh[edit]

In Himachal Pradesh, floods caused loss of life and property and death toll in the state was 20.[34]

Nepal[edit]

About 6000 citizens of Nepal were visiting the Indian region, of which 1,000 were rescued as of 22 June 2013.[35] Flooding of the Dhauliganga and the Mahakali rivers had caused extensive damage, with reports of 128 houses and 13 government offices swept away and over 1000 people homeless.[36][37] A bridge that joins the India-Nepal border is highly damaged or destroyed.

Rescue operations[edit]

See also: Operation Rahat and Operation Surya Hope

The Army, Air Force, Navy, Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), Border Security Force, National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), Public Works Department and local administrations worked together for quick rescue operations.[13] Several thousand soldiers were deployed for the rescue missions.[38] Activists of political and social organisations were also involved in the rescue and management of relief centres.[39] The national highway and other important roads were closed to regular traffic.[14] Helicopters were used to rescue people, but due to the rough terrain, heavy fog and rainfall, manoeuvring them was a challenge.[40] By 21 June 2013, the Army had deployed 10,000 soldiers and 11 helicopters,[26][41] the Navy had sent 45 naval divers, and the Air force had deployed 43 aircraft including 36 helicopters.[42] From 17 to 30 June 2013, the IAF airlifted a total of 18,424 people - flying a total of 2,137 sorties and dropping/landing a total of 3,36,930 kg of relief material and equipments.[43]

On 25 June, one of 3 IAF Mil Mi-17 rescue helicopters returning from Kedarnath, carrying 5 Air Force Officers, 9 of the NDRF, and 6 of the ITBP crashed on a mountainous slope near Gauri Kund, killing all on board.[44][45] The deceased soldiers were given a ceremonial Guard of honour by Home minister of India, at a function organised by the Uttarakhand State Government.[46]

Indo Tibetan border Police (ITBP) a Force which guards the Indo China borders on the high himalayas with its 3 Regional Response Centres (RRCs) based at Matli (Uttarkashi), Gauchar (Chamoli) and Pithoragarh swung into action and started rescue and relief operation. 2000 strong ITBP force with its mountaineering skills and improvisation methods started rescue of stranded pilgrims. It was a simultaneous effort by ITBP at Kedar ghati, Gangotri valley and Govind ghat areas. According to official figures by ITBP, they were able to rescue 33,009 pilgrims in 15 days on their own from extreme remote and inaccessible areas.Before Army or Air Force called in, being deployed in the nearby areas, ITBP took the first call and saved many lives. They also distributed food packets to stranded pilgrims who were in a pathetic condition being not having any food for more than 72 hours at many places.

Aftermath[edit]

The Prime Minister of India undertook an aerial survey of the affected areas and announced₹10 billion (US$150 million) aid package for disaster relief efforts in the state.[47] Several state governments announced financial assistance, with Uttar Pradesh pledging ₹250 million (US$3.8 million),[48] the governments of Haryana,[49]Maharashtra[50] and Delhi₹100 million (US$1.5 million) each, the governments of Tamil Nadu,[51]Odisha,[52]Gujarat,[53]Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh₹50 million (US$770,000) each. The US Ambassador to India extended a financial help of USD $150,000 through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to the NGOs working in the area.[54] and announced that the US will provide further financial aid of USD $75,000.[54]

The Government of India also cancelled 9 batches, or half the annual batches of the Kailash-Mansarovar Yatra, a Hindu pilgrimage.[55] The Chardham Yatra pilgrimage, covering Gangotri, Yamunotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath was cancelled for 2 years to repair damaged roads and infrastructure, according to the Uttarakhand Government.[56]

Government agencies and priests of Kedarnath temple were planning mass cremation of the hundreds of victims, after one week of tragedy.[57][58] Local youths from several affected villages near Gangotri helped stranded tourists and pilgrims, by sending messages to their places and by providing food.[59] Rescuers also retrieved approximately ₹10 million (US$150,000) and other jewellery from local persons, including some people dressed like sadhu babas, who reportedly collected it from a destroyed building of a Bank and damaged shops.[60][61][62]

Climate and environmental factors[edit]

A study by Utah State University [63] analyzed the natural and anthropogenic influences on the climate anomalies using simulations, and found that (a) northern India has experienced increasingly large rainfall in June since the late 1980s, (b) the increase in rainfall appears to be associated with a tendency in the upper troposphere towards amplified short waves, and (c) the phasing of such amplified short waves is tied to increased loading of green-house gases and aerosols. In addition, a regional modeling diagnosis attributed 60–90 % of rainfall amounts in the June 2013 event to post-1980 climate trends.

Unprecedented destruction by the rainfall witnessed in Uttarakhand state was also attributed, by environmentalists, to unscientific developmental activities undertaken in recent decades contributing to high level of loss of property and lives. Roads constructed in haphazard style, new resorts and hotels built on fragile river banks and more than 70 hydroelectric projects in the watersheds of the state led to a "disaster waiting to happen" as termed by certain environmentalists.[64] The environmental experts reported that the tunnels built and blasts undertaken for the 70 hydro electric projects contributed to the ecological imbalance in the state, with flows of river water restricted and the streamside development activity contributing to a higher number of landslides and more flooding.[4][64]

In fiction[edit]

A novel titled A Long Journey was written and published by independent author Pawan Kumar Pandey, which has the floods and the resulting tragedy in its background.[65][66]

References[edit]

  1. ^ abKumar, Siddhartha (15 July 2013). "5,748 feared dead after India floods". IOL News. Retrieved 19 September 2013. 
  2. ^"India raises flood death toll to 5,700 as all missing persons now presumed dead". CBS News. 16 July 2013. Retrieved 16 July 2013. 
  3. ^"India says 5,748 missing in floods now presumed dead", Fox News, 15 July 2013
  4. ^ abcdKala, C.P. (2014). "Deluge, tire disaster and development in Uttarakhand Himalayan region of India: Challenges and lessons for disaster management". International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction. 8: 143–152. doi:10.1016/j.ijdrr.2014.03.002. 
  5. ^ abUttarakhand: Army Commander walks with 500 people out of Badrinath | NDTV.com
  6. ^"Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh battered by rain: death toll rises to 130, more than 70,000 stranded". NDTV. 19 June 2013. Retrieved 19 June 2013. 
  7. ^"Heavy rain lashes north India, 50 killed". The Times of India. 18 June 2013. Retrieved 19 June 2013. 
  8. ^ ab"Monsoon fury in north India: 131 dead(the locals believe the true figure to be in the region of 5000), 70,000 stranded; Kedarnath town ruined". Dehra dun/Shimla. Hindustan Times. 19 June 2013. Archived from the original on 20 June 2013. Retrieved 19 June 2013. 
  9. ^Chandramohan, C.K. (23 June 2013). "Uttarakhand floods: Over 10,000 rescued amidst misery and devastation". The Hindu. Chennai, India. Retrieved 24 June 2013. 
  10. ^"India Intensifies its Rescue Efforts". The Wall Street Journal. 23 June 2013. Retrieved 24 June 2013. 
  11. ^"Uttarakhand: Rescue efforts in full swing; 102 dead, 72000 stranded-India News". IBNLive Mobile. 18 June 2013. Retrieved 22 June 2013. 
  12. ^Kedarnath temple in Uttarakhand survives glacier, floods | Down To Earth Bot generated title -->
  13. ^ abc"Uttarakhand floods, landslides leave 40 dead; over 60,000 stranded". IBN Live. 18 June 2013. Retrieved 18 June 2013. 
  14. ^ abcdef"58 dead, over 58,000 trapped as rains batter Uttarakhand, UP". Business Standard. 18 June 2013. Retrieved 18 June 2013. 
  15. ^ ab"Uttarakhand worst hit as rain, floods kill at least 60 in north India". The Indian Express. 18 June 2013. Retrieved 18 June 2013. 
  16. ^"Recipe for disaster in Uttarakhand: 1 crore population, 2.5 crore tourists". The Times Of India. 23 June 2013. Retrieved 24 June 2013. 
  17. ^"AP pilgrims stranded in Uttarakhand". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 17 June 2013. Retrieved 18 June 2013. 
  18. ^PTI (19 June 2013). "Relief work picks up momentum as north India reels under severe flood". The Indian Express. Retrieved 19 June 2013. 
  19. ^ ab"FLOOD FURY TOLL NOW 131". The Pioneer, Dehradun. 19 June 2013. Retrieved 19 June 2013. 
  20. ^"Flood of woes". Mid-Day. 20 June 2013. Retrieved 20 June 2013. 
  21. ^"Over 500 dead in Uttarakhand flood, toll may rise". The Hindustan Times. 21 June 2013. Retrieved 21 June 2013. 
  22. ^Tripathi, Aashish (22 June 2013). "Uttarakhand floods: 13 bodies recovered in UP rivers". The Times of India. Retrieved 26 June 2013. 
  23. ^"Uttarakhand tragedy: 68 more bodies found in Kedar Valley". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 7 September 2013. Retrieved 7 September 2013. 
  24. ^"Kedarnath temple stays intact, its surroundings have gone with flow". Hindustan Times. 18 June 2013. Retrieved 19 June 2013. 
  25. ^"Uttarakhand floods: Epidemic looms as people complain of fever, diarrhoea". The Times of India. 26 June 2013. Retrieved 26 June 2013. 
  26. ^ ab"Kedarnath temple closed for a year, PM announces Rs 1,000 crore relief for Uttarakhand". The Times of India. 19 June 2013. Retrieved 19 June 2013. 
  27. ^"Kedarnath yatra may take 2-3 years to start: Sources". 19 June 2013. Retrieved 24 June 2013. 
  28. ^"No Kedarnath yatra for 2 years, says Bahuguna". 24 June 2013. Retrieved 24 June 2013. 
  29. ^"Kedarnath temple reopens for devotees". The Indian Express. 12 May 2014.  
  30. ^"Delhi airport flooded, passengers wade through knee deep water". NDTV. 16 June 2013. Retrieved 22 June 2013. 
  31. ^"Yamuna swells, crosses danger mark". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 19 June 2013. Retrieved 22 June 2013. 
  32. ^"Drainage system collapses, heavy rains pour misery". Hindustan Times. 19 June 2013. Retrieved 22 June 2013. 
  33. ^"Uttar Pradesh flood situation worsens". DNA India. 11 July 2013. Retrieved 12 July 2013. 
  34. ^"Death toll in Himachal floods rises to 20". The Hindustan Times. 20 June 2013. Archived from the original on 30 September 2013. Retrieved 21 June 2013. 
  35. ^"1‚000 plus rescued from India arrive home - Detail News : Nepal News Portal". The Himalayan Times. Retrieved 23 June 2013. 
  36. ^"Relief distribution to Darchula flood victims starts - Detail News : Nepal News Portal". The Himalayan Times. Retrieved 23 June 2013. 
  37. ^"Minister says joint team will look into Mahakali floods - Detail News : Nepal News Portal". The Himalayan Times. Retrieved 23 June 2013. 
  38. ^"Uttarakhand: Rescue efforts in full swing; 102 dead, 72000 stranded". IBN. 18 June 2013. Retrieved 19 June 2013. 
  39. ^"Parties asks workers to assist in relief work in Uttarakhand". 19 June 2013. Retrieved 21 June 2013. 
  40. ^Upadhyay, Kavitha (18 June 2013). "57,000 pilgrims stranded in Uttarakhand". The Hindu. Chennai, India. Retrieved 18 June 2013. 
  41. ^Kumar, Vinay (20 June 2013). "Dhruv helicopters fly high in Uttarakhand". The Hindu. Chennai, India. Retrieved 22 June 2013. 
  42. ^"IAF deploys 13 more aircraft for Uttarakhand rescue ops". The Economic Times. 21 June 2013. Retrieved 22 June 2013. 
  43. ^"IAF 'OP Rahat' Update Upto 6 O' Clock". Government of India. 30 June 2013. Retrieved 19 September 2013. 
  44. ^"Will make sure job is done: Air Chief NAK Browne to NDTV". 26 June 2013. Retrieved 26 June 2013. 
  45. ^"Uttarakhand floods: Bodies of chopper crash victims recovered". Mid-day. 26 June 2013. Retrieved 26 June 2013. 
  46. ^Bravehearts who died in Uttarakhand chopper crash given Guard of Honour | NDTV.com
  47. ^"Rs 1000 cr relief for flood hit Uttarakhand announced". Hindustan Times. 19 June 2013. Retrieved 19 June 2013. 
  48. ^"UP govt announces financial help to Uttarakhand". Lucknow: Zee News. 19 June 2013. Retrieved 19 June 2013. 
  49. ^"Haryana announces Rs. 10-crore help for Uttarakhand". Chandigarh: NDTV. 19 June 2013. Retrieved 20 June 2013. 
  50. ^"Chavan announces Rs. 10-crore aid". Mumbai: The Hindu. 20 June 2013. Retrieved 20 June 2013. 
  51. ^"TamilNadu donates Rs.5 Crore". TamilNadu: CNN-IBN. 23 June 2013. Retrieved 23 June 2013. 
  52. ^"Odisha announces Rs 5 crore for Uttarakhand, 100 Odias trapped - Economic Times". indiatimes.com. 20 June 2013. Retrieved 27 June 2013.  
  53. ^Iyer, Shekhar (2013). "Modi sends Rs 3 cr more, renews offer to help in Uttarakhand - Hindustan Times". hindustantimes.com. Retrieved 27 June 2013.  
  54. ^ ab"US Ambassador announces relief to flood victims in Uttarakhand". The Economic Times. 23 June 2013. Retrieved 24 June 2013. 
  55. ^"Government cancels Kailash Manasarovar Yatra due to Uttarakhand disaster : North, News". India Today. 19 June 2013. Retrieved 19 June 2013. 
  56. ^"150 dead in Uttarakhand flood, toll may rise". The Hindustan Times. 19 June 2013. Retrieved 19 June 2013. 
  57. ^"India plans mass cremation for flood victims". Al Jazeera. 24 June 2013. Retrieved 24 June 2013. 
  58. ^"India to begin mass cremation of flood victims". Fox News. 24 June 2013. Retrieved 24 June 2013.
Kedarnath temple, before floods
Satellite image of the affected region, taken on 30 May by NASA's MODIS.
Same location, shot on 21 June during the height of the floods

New Delhi, India

The flash floods triggered by very heavy rainfall and cloudburst in Uttarakhand on 16-17 June 2013, affected 12 out of the 13 districts in Uttarakhand. The 4 districts that were worst affected were Rudraprayag, Chamoli, Uttarkashi and Pithoragarh.

The deluge has washed away roads, bridges and other infrastructure. So far about 1000 deaths are reported and many are still reported missing. In Kedarnath alone about 75,000 pilgrims had been stranded due to landslides and flash floods.

In view of the devastating impact of the heavy rain fall in the state of Uttarakhand, Secretary General, Indian Red Cross Society (IRCS) held a meeting on 18th June 2013 in his office with the senior officials from IRCS NHQ, IFRC and ICRC.The Indian Red Cross Society (National Head quarters) mounted an immediate response to the disaster by deploying relief and assessment teams to Dehradun, Uttarkashi, Rishikesh, Pithoragarh and Rudraprayag. Shri Gulam Nabi Azad, Hon’ble Chairman, IRCS (The Minister of Health and Family Welfare) flagged off the trucks carrying relief materials for the flood affected victims on 21st of June 2013.

Relief materials in the form of Non food items has been despatched to the Uttarakhand state branch by road for further distribution to the affected areas. Till date more than INR 2.2 crores worth of relief items has been sent.

Indian Red Cross responds to the Uttarakhand disaster

The Indian Red Cross responded to the Uttarakhand disaster by mobilising the National disaster response team (NDRT), Regional disaster response team (RDRT) and National disaster watsan response team (NDWRT) members who were alerted for possible deployment. The National headquarters despatched a two member team to Uttarakhand on the 19th June 2013 for carrying out assessment of the needs of the community in coordination with the officials of the Uttarakhand state Red Cross branch and to follow it with the organisation of relief work.

The General Secretary, Uttarakhand State Red Cross branch activated the Certified First Medical Responders (CFMRs) at the various districts of Uttarakhand. There are 151 trainers and more than 4500 CFMRs who are trained in First aid, psychosocial support, search and rescue, dead body management, PhiE etc with the Uttarakhand Red Cross state branch. A meeting with 30 CFMRs was held at Dehradun on the 19th June 2013.

The team deployed at Dehradun established contact with FMRs and Patwaris in these affected Districts and the FMRs prepared lists of people who were stranded in their region. The list had details about the place they were stranded in, the contact person they wanted to inform their whereabouts, a message they wished to convey, phone number etc. Around 50 such messages were delivered about these stranded people to their families that were waiting for information about their loved ones. A tracing request from Tamil Nadu was received regarding a group of pilgrims, their location was found out and medical assistance was organised for them. A meeting was held in state branch where around 30 volunteers participated who committed their time for relief operation activities. The NDRT team reached Uttarkashi on 21st June 2013 and met the 30 FMRs working since the day of disaster.

A high level team from the IFRC and National Headquarters consisting of the Head, IFRC; Deputy secretary, IRCS, NHQ and Advisor (DM) has also visited Uttarakhand for an on the spot analysis of the situation. IRCS is in close coordination with the Director (EMR), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare for any requirement that may need to be addressed. On request, IRCS despatched 1600 body bags to Dehradun.

Relief materials in the form of 1050 Family tents (to accomodate upto 8 persons each), family packs (including kitchen sets, clothings, buckets etc.), stoves, lanterns and tarpaulins etc. worth INR 2,21,99,300 have been despatched to Uttarakhand.

A Red Cross camp has been set up near Vikas bhawan in Joshiyara, Uttarkashi. 40 tents have been erected and 24 families are at the camp presently. 35-40 CFMRs are working at Uttarkashi. Further as reported by the state branch FMR and Red Cross life members gave first aid, navigation assistance, medicines, etc to 1720 people. Assessment to document impact of floods on the local population is underway.

Another team of two National Disaster relief team members of the IRCS (NHQ) has been deployed at Pithoragarh on the request of the Secretary, Uttarakhand State RC Branch. The team went to BALWAKOT, NAYABASTHI, DARCHULA, GHOTI after walking for 5 – 8 km.The people are living in tents, administration is providing them ration. No major health issue has been reported. 5 FMRs are working in temporary shelters here since 17th June. Around 3000 people have been evacuated to safer places by ITBP. Mobile health unit has been set up by the government and Red Cross hospital at Balwakot is also functioning. A ’Restoring family links’ expert has reached Rudraprayag along with the NDWRT expert for assessment of needs and coordination in relief measures.

Daily review meetings are being held by the Secretary General in the control room set up at National Headquarters.

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