The Uttarakhand Disaster

and Climate Change

INTRODUCTION

Uttarakhand has a total area of 53,484 km² of which 93% is mountainous and 64% is covered by forest.Most of the Uttarakhand part of the state is covered by high Himalayan peaks and glaciers.Two of India's largest rivers, the Ganges and the Yamuna, originate in the glaciers of Uttarakhand. It is well know as the "Land of the Gods"

India is aiming to prevent future catastrophes, such as the recent flash floods.

  • A spell of torrential rainfall during June, 15-17, 2013, over Uttarakhand, India, caused devastating floods and landslides in the country's worst natural disaster since the 2004 Tsunami.
  • According to figures released by the Uttarakhand State government, more than 5,000 people were presumed dead.
  • Destruction of bridges and roads trapped more than 100,000 pilgrims and tourists in the valley. The largest impact was at the temple town of Kedarnath, which saw the height of the annual pilgrimage season.

Reasons for the Disaster

Natural Reason

  • It has been shown that water flow can increase up to four times due to melting of snow and ice, exacerbated by rain.
  • This clarifies the large stream run-off in the Madakini River, but does not explain peak discharge for short duration on the morning of June 17.
  • The global climate is getting warmer, as is evident from increasing surface-air temperatures, widespread melting of sea ice and snow, and the rise in the world's sea-level.
  • Climate model projections suggest that as the Earth warms, precipitation is likely to fall over shorter intervals of time, thereby increasing the frequency of very heavy and extreme precipitation events.

MAN MADE REASONS

  • The Uttrakhand Disaster have been officially termed a natural calamity caused by cloudbursts and unprecedented heavy monsoon rainfall.
  • However, the true causes of the epic tragedy is growth of tourism, unchecked Rapid increase of roads, hotels, shops and multistory housing in ecologically fragile areas and unplanned construction are the reason for landslide.
  • Also Rapid growth of hydroelectricity dams that disrupt water balances and this also triggered the action of disaster.

Uttarakhand Flood 2013 All Video Scenes

Climate Change

  • The monsoon arrived early in the northern state of Uttarakhand, bringing with it 375% more rain than in previous years.
  • The sheer weight of water that hit an area known as India’s ‘holy land’ is hard to overstate.
  • It suffered 60 hours of continuous and heavy rains coupled with cloudbursts between Friday 14 June to Monday 17 June 2013.