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Disasters That Shook India: Uttarakhand Flash Floods 2013

Updated on July 2, 2016

The Cause

Most of us are fond of rain and feel elated when the weather cools with a heavy shower. However, in 2013, the skies erupted and the people of Uttarakhand witnessed the wrath that rains can unleash. It was on June 16, 2013 when flash floods were triggered in this northern state of India, due to heavy rainfall and cloudbursts. It was the country’s worst natural disaster since the Tsunami, and it left thousands of people dead and many more homeless. Incidents like these make you realize the importance of having a savings plan and life insurance.

From June 14 to 17, the state experienced heavy rainfalls, around 375% more than the average rainfall during a normal monsoon season. It led to the melting of the Chorabari Glacier at 3,800 meters and resulted in many landslides. The melting of the glacier also resulted in the eruption of the Mandakini river, leading to heavy floods in most parts of the state. According to reliefweb, 12 out of the 13 districts of the state were affected by these floods. Many tourists and pilgrims were trapped for several days.

The Destruction

The massive landslides destroyed thousands of houses, damaging everything and killing everyone trapped inside. Places like Gangotri, Yamunorti, Kedarnath and Badrinath are visited by many devotees ever year, which led to further loss of life.

  • According to government released figures, more than 5,700 people were presumed dead.
  • More than 95% of the casualties took place in Uttarakhand itself.
  • Some parts of Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Nepal were also affected.
  • Around 938 locals lost their lives in this sad incident.
  • Around 100,000 pilgrims were trapped in the valleys leading to the Char Dham pilgrim sites.
  • It was the wettest day in Dehradun in over 5 decades.
  • Due to the extensive damage to infrastructure, the Kedarnath temple was shut down for 2 years. The floods led to a panic driven stampede in the temple killing many people.
  • Roads were damaged at more than 450 places, resulting in heavy traffic jams.
  • Various health problems like fever and diarrhea started spreading rapidly.
  • Around 128 houses and 13 government offices were swept away in Nepal.

The Response

Like always, the Indian government was quick to react and aid was provided to the victims in terms of manpower, materials and money.

  • The Army, Navy and Air Force as well as the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), Public Works Department and local administrators worked together to provide assistance to the victims.
  • The Government of India sanctioned Rs.546.306 crores from the National Disaster Relief Fund for the relief and reconstruction work.
  • The Indian Red Cross team sent its National Disaster Response Team (NDRT) and Regional Disaster Response Team (RDRT) members to the affected areas.
  • Around 1,050 family tents, stoves, lanterns and other essentials worth Rs.22, 299,300 were dispatched to Uttarakhand.
  • The Indian Army deployed around 10,000 soldiers and 11 helicopters for rescue operations. The Air Force deployed 43 aircrafts, including 36 helicopters, while the Navy appointed 36 naval officers for the task.
  • Between June 17 and 30, more than 18,000 people were lifted by the IAF and 336,930 kgs of relief materials were dropped.
  • Paramilitary troops rescued 110,000 people from flood affected areas.
  • Many Indian states as well as international governments also announced financial aid for the victims.

Humans have no hand to play in such activities neither we can stop nature from causing such destruction. Experts mentioned that one can choose a savings plan that not only includes a monthly income plan but also a life cover component to secure ourselves financially in case of such an unfortunate, yet unpredictable event.

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