Uttarakhand Floods

A man-made tragedy fueled by nature

Origin

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.This caused the melting of Chorabari Glacier at the height of 3800 metres, and eruption of the Mandakini River[13] 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.

The Causes of the Floods

There are nine factors that have caused this really painful tragedy :

  1. Unplanned development that was destroying the ecology of the mountains.
  2. Exponential increase in the number off vehicles
  3. Change in the Day-Night temperature.
  4. Insufficient Resources
  5. Absence of tourism management
  6. Non-existent governing authority
  7. No crowd Management
  8. Reduction in forest cover
  9. Inaccurate and incomplete prediction by the Met department

Kedarnath

The temple, at an height of 3,583 m (11,755 ft), 223 km from Rishikesh, on the shores of Mandakini river, a tributary of Ganga, is an impressive stone edifice of unknown date. The structure is believed to have been constructed in the 8th century AD, when Adi Shankara visited. The present structure is on a site adjacent to where Pandavas are believed to have built the temple. It has on Garbhagriha and a Mandapa and stands on a plateau surrounded by snow clad mountain and glaciers. In front of the temple, directly opposite to inner shrine, is a Nandi statue carved out of rock.

Steps taken by the government and the local community.

The Prime Minister of India undertook an aerial survey of the affected areas and announced 10 billion (US$170 million) aid package for disaster relief efforts in the state.Several state governments announced financial assistance, with Uttar Pradesh pledging 250 million (US$4.2 million), the governments of Haryana, Maharashtra and Delhi 100 million (US$1.7 million) each, the governments of Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh 50 million (US$840,000) 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 and announced that the US will provide further financial aid of USD $75,000.

The Government of India also cancelled 9 batches, or half the annual batches of the Kailash-Mansarovar Yatra, a Hindu pilgrimage. 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.

Government agencies and priests of Kedarnath temple were planning mass cremation of the hundreds of victims, after one week of tragedy.Local youths from several affected villages near Gangotri helped stranded tourists and pilgrims, by sending messages to their places and by providing food. Rescuers also retrieved approximately 10 million (US$170,000) 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.