Mother nature hits back

A sneak-peak of the natural disaster in Uttarakhand

By Rhea Dsouza

An unforgettable experience for the people in Uttarakhand.

In June 2013, a multi-day cloudburst centered on the North Indian state of Uttarakhand caused devastating floods and landslides in the country's worst natural disaster since the 2004 tsunami.

Who is held responsible for this... Man or Nature?

Natural Reason -

#From 14 to 17 June 2013, Indian state of Uttarakhand and near by are received heavy rainfall.

#The rainfall was above benchmark which is above 375%.

#A multi-day cloudburst, centered on the state Uttarakhand caused devastating floods and landslides.

#Due to Continuous Rain the Chorabari Glacier melted and this triggered the flooding of the Mandakini river.

#Which led to heavy floods near Govindghat, Kedar Dome, Rudraprayag District, Uttarakhand.

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Nature is not only at fault... Man Made Reason!

Man Made Reason -

#The Uttarakhand has been officially termed a natural calamity caused by cloudburst and unprecedented heavy monsoon rainfall.

#However, the true causes of the epic tragedy is the growth of tourism, unchecked Rapid increase of roads, hotels, shops and multistory house in ecologically fragile areas and unplanned construction are the reason for landslide.

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Deforestation is also one of the most important factor of Uttarakhand disaster, which cause frequent landslides.
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Uttarakhand Floods: A Disaster of Our Own Making?

Floods in India have killed thousands, sending a sobering message about the risks of rapid development.

Other Regions

  • National Capital Region

Delhi, Guragaon and surrounding areas received a high amount of rainfall on 16 June 2013, leading to flooding of the low lying areas of the cities. The Yamuna River swelled to a new high of 207.75 meters submerging the low lying flood plains along the banks.

  • Uttar Pradesh

608 villages, covering a population of 700,000, in 23 districts of Uttar Pradesh were affected by the flood and As of 11 July 2013 more than 120 deaths were reported from the state.

  • Himachal Pradesh

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

  • Nepal

About 6000 citizens of Nepal were visiting the Indian region, of which 1,000 were rescued as of 22 June 2013. 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. A bridge that joins the India-Nepal border is highly damaged or destroyed.

Steps taken by the government post to Uttarakhand devastation.

Uttarakhand chief minister Vijay Bahuguna imposed a ban on construction of houses and commercial establishments along river banks. He also announced setting up of a statutory body that shall look into the Rehabilitation and Reconstruction efforts of flood affected areas of the state.

The Cabinet also decided to revise the norms for relief and rehabilitation in the wake of the massive tragedy by widening the scope of beneficiaries ranging from small kiosks to ‘dhabas’ to big hotels, Bahuguna said.

The state is expecting Rs 2,500 to 3,000 crore from the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank for the purpose and is to receive a package of Rs 1,000 crore announced by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts. The authority will ensure transparency in the utilization of large funds, Bahuguna said.


It has been decided to give Rs 50,000 to one lakh to small kiosks and ‘dhabas’ damaged in the flood and Rs. two lakh to hotels completely destroyed, he said.

Other major decisions taken by the Cabinet included the exemption of affected locals from repaying loans taken from cooperative banks and nationalised banks for one year and supplying free of cost 15 kgs each of rice and flour, 5 kgs of pulses, 3 kgs of sugar, one litre each of refined and mustard oil, salt and spices and 10 litres of kerosene to each affected family inhabiting areas that are totally stranded for one month.

Students up to intermediate standard will be given a one time compensation of Rs 500 each while students of polytechnic and degree colleges will get an amount of Rs 1000 as one time compensation, the chief minister announced.



A small speech given by the local community.

Dear friends,

You have all witnessed the tragedy unfolding in Uttrakhand the birth place and home of Navdanya. We know you all want to reach out to the local communities and contribute to their rehabilitation and rejuvenation of their lives, livelihoods and ecosystems. Being rooted in Uttrakhand we would like to clarify that the disaster is not just a natural disaster but is man made. Dynamiting the mountains to build hundreds of dams and hydroelectric projects has destabilized our fragile Himalaya, the youngest mountain system of the world.

As part of Navdanya’s extended family we invite you to join the collective effort for rejuvenation and rehabilitation work in our valleys, especially the Kedarnath valley, which has suffered the worst devastation. It is in this beautiful valley that Navdanya started Jaiv Panchayat, the Living Democracy movement, in Agasthyamuni, on the World Environment day, 5th June 1999.We will continue the work for rehabilitation and rejuvenation in the spirit of the living democracy movement which is people led and which recognizes that we are a part of the Earth Family and real democracy is the Earth Democracy, the protection of rights of people and Mother Earth. In this disaster the Navdanya Center at Bedubagar ,near Agasthyamuni ,has been providing shelter and food to those whose homes which had been washed away. Members of the Navdanya Mahila Anna swaraj movement, (Womens Food Sovereignty) have been running a collective kitchen from the Navdanya center.Local communities have used all their food grains to give food to the stranded pilgrims and victims who have lost everything .They have no food for the rest of the year.