June 23, 2013

Susceptibility of India to Natural Disasters in India based on types of disasters

Earthquakes: During the last 20 years, India has experienced 10 major earthquakes that have claimed more than 35,000 lives. Almost 58% of our total land mass is prone to earthquakes of moderate to very high intensity. The Himalayan mountain range is undergoing constant geological changes (crustal movements) resulting in frequent earthquakes and landslides.
Floods: Floods in the Indo-Gangetic – Brahmaputra plains are an annual feature.  Several thousands of lives have been lost, millions have been rendered homeless and 8 million hectares of crops are damaged every year.  India receives 75% of rains during the monsoon season (June – September). As a result almost all the rivers carry heavy waters during this time resulting in sediment deposition, drainage congestion, invading into the main land. 40 million hectares of land is vulnerable to floods with about 30 million people affected by flood every year.  Floods brought severe drought in arid and semi arid areas. About 12% of the total land mass is flood prone.
Cyclones: India has a long coastline running 7,516 km long and the entire coastal stretch is exposed to Tsunami, cyclone, Tidal waves and storm surges. On an average, five to six tropical cyclones strike every year, of which two or three are very severe. More cyclones occur in the Bay of Bengal than in the Arabian Sea and the ratio is approximately 4:1. Every year the eastern coast is affected by cyclones and Tsunami. The Orissa Super Cyclone (1999) and the India Tsunami 2004 claimed thousands and thousands of human lives devastating agricultural crops and rendering lakhs and lakhs of people homeless.
Drought: The Desert which is located in the western region of the country and the Deccan Plateau face recurring droughts due to acute shortage of rainfall. About 50 million people are affected annually by drought and 40 million hectares of land are prone to scanty or no rain.
Landslides: Landslides are yet another recurrent phenomenon in the hilly regions of India such as Himalayas, North-East India and Eastern and Western Ghat regions. The major Landslide disaster that took place was at Malpa Uttarkhand (UP) in the year 1998 when nearly 380 people were killed when massive landslides washed away the entire village. The 2010 Leh cloudburst led to flash mudslides and flash floods that killed 196 people swept away a number of houses and public buildings.
Cold waves: Cold waves are common and recurrent disaster in North India. During the winter season due to extreme cold climates, hundreds of people die of cold bites and related diseases every year. The impact is more on the urban poor.


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