Disaster in Uttarakhand

Pamphlet about the flood in Uttarakhand

Introduction

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.

Causes of the Floods

There were many root causes. Due to the increase in the number of tourists, lots of transport facilities were made which increased the temperature of the area. It caused the melting of glaciers. Lots dams were built to meet the growing demand of of electricity. The dams weakened the mountains nearby. This resulted in landslides. People also did not follow the environmental laws of the area.

Aftermath

Landslides, due to the floods, damaged several houses and structures, killing those who were trapped. The market town of Sonprayag suffered heavy damage and loss of lives. Over 70,000 people were stuck in various regions because of damaged or blocked roads. National Highway 58, an important artery connecting the region was also washed away near Jyotirmath and in many other places. 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. As of September 2013, about 556 bodies were found during fourth round of search operations.

Although the Kedarnath Temple itself was not damaged, its base was inundated with water, mud and boulders from the landslide, damaging its perimeter. Many hotels, rest houses and shops around the temple in Kedarnath township were destroyed, resulting in several casualties. The temple was flooded with water resulting in several deaths due to drowning and panic-driven stampede.The Temple reopened for pilgrims on Sunday, 4 May 2014.

Funding and Rescue

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 US$4.2 million, the governments of Haryana, Maharashtra and Delhi US$1.7 million each, the governments of Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh US$840,000 each. The US Ambassador to India extended a financial help of USD $150,000 through the USAID to the NGOs working in the area and announced that the US will provide further financial aid of USD $75,000.

Operation Rahat was the name given to the IAF's rescue operations to evacuate civilians affected by the floods. IAF claims it to be the biggest civilian rescue operation in the world carried out by any air force using helicopters. During the first phase of the operation From 17 June 2013, the IAF airlifted a total of 19,600 people - flying a total of 2,140 sorties and dropping/landing a total of 3,82,400 kg of relief material and equipment.

Operation Surya Hope is the name that Indian Army's central command gave to its response in Uttarakhand following the floods. It is Indian Army's largest ever humanitarian mission.