Info Change India

Info Change India - Disasters

Mon06262017

Last updateThu, 15 Jun 2017 11am

Font Size

Profile

Menu Style

Cpanel
You are here: Home | Disasters | Disasters

Disasters

Disasters

Backgrounders

Disasters : Background & Perspective

By Vinod C Menon and Shirish Kavad

India is the worst-affected theatre of disaster in the South Asian region. Drought, floods, earthquakes and cyclones devastate the country with grim regularity. More than 11,000 lives were lost in the December 2004 tsunami, 10,000 were killed in the Orissa supercyclone of 1999, and 16,000 died in the earthquake that hit Kutch in January 2001. Are these natural disasters caused by nature's fury? Or are they man-made in large measure? Is the country equipped to manage the disasters that affect 25 million people every year?

Read More

Analysis

'With the Kosi embankments we have tied a snake around our necks'

By Rashme Sehgal

Kosi has always flooded

The Kosi has always flooded, says water and disaster management expert Dinesh Kumar Mishra, but it has never caused such devastation. In this interview he explains why structural measures will never provide a foolproof solution against floods and why we should go back to traditional wisdom and allow people to live with the floods



Related Articles

»Everybody loves a good flood By Darryl D'Monte
Read More

»Islands of disconnect By Sharmila Joshi
Read More

»Katrina or Cassandra? By Darryl D'Monte
Read More

 

Features

Valleys in despair: Beyond the reopening of Kedarnath Yatra

By Sunandita Mehrotra

Kedarnath YatraThough the Kedarnath route has been reopened, major issues of rehabilitation and basic survival are being neglected: thousands of families still have no clue how to manage basic livelihoods in the region

After the Himalayan Tsunami crushed major river valleys in Uttarakhand, Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna said it would take at least three years to reopen the Kedarnath Yatra. Managing it in just over three months – the Yatra resumed on October 5 – seems to be a grand achievement.

Read More

Related Articles

»How not to manage disaster relief By Ravleen Kaur
Read More

»Famine-like conditions in Aila-affected areas By Somnath Mukherji
Read More

»'Give us food or jail us' By Panchali Ray
Read More

Reports

Nothing natural about these disasters': UNDP report

The UNDP's 'Reducing Disaster Risk: A Challenge for Development' cautions that natural disasters put an enormous strain on development and are a serious threat to achieving the Millennium Development Goals, particularly the target of halving extreme poverty by 2015

A team led by the UNDP has brought out a report on global trends in exposure, risk and vulnerability to natural disasters. The report titled 'Reducing Disaster Risk: A Challenge for Development' analyses global data from the past two decades and concludes that a lot of the death and destruction brought on by natural disasters in poor countries can be averted by better planning and systematic risk analysis.

Read More

Related Articles

»Making migration an informed choice
Read More

»Preparing for disasters By Rashme Sehgal
Read More

»Human failure exacerbates scale of natural disasters: Oxfam
Read More

Changemakers

Kolkata slumdwellers break down the walls that divide

By Rajashri Dasgupta

AMRI Hospital disaster

The very residents of the Panchanantala slum in Kolkata who are considered a nuisance by the occupants of the high-rises that surround them, who are periodically threatened with eviction and turned away even in emergencies by the specialty AMRI Hospital next door to them, risked their lives to rescue patients from the burning hospital.

It was business as usual in Panchanantala slum in South Kolkata that afternoon. Men were at work, some hawking fruit or sawing pieces of wood, others grabbing a siesta before returning to work.

 

Read More

Stories of Change

Preparing children for disaster in Andhra Pradesh

Twenty NGOs involved in disaster management in Andhra Pradesh train children to recognise cyclone warnings and act on them, build floating devices, rescue and treat the injured and get people safely into cyclone shelters. For the children it's fun and games, but with a very serious undertone

"Willing to stay back after school?" "Yes," says Satish shyly, a glint in his big eyes. His friends explain: "We have lots of games to play and get chocolates and biscuits!"

Read More

Related Articles

»An enabling infrastructure can make all the difference
Read More

»Bhuj, January 26-29, 2001
Read More

»Rebuilding schools amidst ruins
Read More

News Scan

Rain wreaks havoc in northern India

Heavy monsoon rains and landslides swept the hilly areas and Gangetic belt of northern India over the weekend, killing at least 100 people

The annual monsoon season from June to October brings rains that are vital to agriculture in India. However, the monsoon also takes a heavy human toll every year.

Northern India is experiencing heavy rainfall this season, after a drought last year.

Read More

Related Articles

»$ 220 million WB credit for Bihar flood-affected areas
Read More

»Bihar, Jharkhand, parts of WB declared drought-affected
Read More

»Flood aid flowing very slowly to desperate Pakistan
Read More

Disasters : Background & Perspective

By Vinod C Menon and Shirish Kavad

India is the worst-affected theatre of disaster in the South Asian region. Drought, floods, earthquakes and cyclones devastate the country with grim regularity. More than 11,000 lives were lost in the December 2004 tsunami, 10,000 were killed in the Orissa supercyclone of 1999, and 16,000 died in the earthquake that hit Kutch in January 2001. Are these natural disasters caused by nature's fury? Or are they man-made in large measure? Is the country equipped to manage the disasters that affect 25 million people every year?

Read more...

'With the Kosi embankments we have tied a snake around our necks'

By Rashme Sehgal

The Kosi has always flooded, says water and disaster management expert Dinesh Kumar Mishra, but it has never caused such devastation. In this interview he explains why structural measures will never provide a foolproof solution against floods and why we should go back to traditional wisdom and allow people to live with the floods

Read more...

Everybody loves a good flood

By Darryl D'Monte

Although the intensity of floods has been increasing, it is not primarily due to deforestation. It is the failure of the so-called modern world to come to terms with this natural phenomenon that is aggravating the situation. As long ago as 1937, the chief engineer of Bihar, Captain G F Hall, said that by building embankments "we are storing disaster for the future"

Read more...

Islands of disconnect

By Sharmila Joshi

Why does the Indian media cover Hurricane Katrina in detail, but bury news of floods in rural Maharashtra? If the argument is that coverage is allocated according to what 'affects' and is 'relevant' to the reader, it is based on the dangerous assumption that the world consists of disconnected islands

Read more...

Katrina or Cassandra?

By Darryl D'Monte

Last year, weather-related losses crossed $100 billion for the first time, and 30 million ecological refugees were displaced by drought, flood or other environment-related causes. Whether it's New Orleans or Mumbai, the lessons are virtually identical, as climate change intensifies across the globe

Read more...

When it rains, it pours: Why we should be concerned about climate change

By Aditi Sen

The increasing occurrence of extreme weather conditions, such as the recent deluge in Mumbai, points to a dangerous threat - climate change. This is the first of a series of articles on human-induced climate change

Read more...

Valleys in despair: Beyond the reopening of Kedarnath Yatra

By Sunandita Mehrotra

Though the Kedarnath route has been reopened, major issues of rehabilitation and basic survival are being neglected: thousands of families still have no clue how to manage basic livelihoods in the region

Read more...

How not to manage disaster relief

By Ravleen Kaur

Victims of last year’s flash floods in Leh find little use for the costly prefabricated rooms they were provided as disaster relief under CSR schemes. Their breath turned to ice in them. They have begun to rebuild their mud homes which insulate them against the extreme cold

Read more...

Famine-like conditions in Aila-affected areas

By Somnath Mukherji

In its continuing coverage of the cyclone-affected Sunderbans, Infochange finds some 700 families in the K-plot island close to starvation. Nothing grows here any more, and rice is priced at Rs 22/kg. Villagers are desperate for work under NREGS

Read more...

'Give us food or jail us'

By Panchali Ray

Four months after Cyclone Aila, surveys reveal that only 1.38 kg of foodgrain are being distributed per adult per month, against a Famine Code requirement of 12 kg per head. No compensation for destroyed homes is forthcoming yet, and little work is being provided under NREGS. There is a dangerous unrest growing at state apathy, according to this special report from affected districts in West Bengal

Read more...

Kosi tragedy poses serious livelihood challenge

By Anosh Malekar

Five months after the Kosi deluge of August 2008, fields remain waterlogged, boats are still plying in paddy fields and thousands have lost their livelihoods as their cultivable lands have been permanently ruined. Around 500,000 people are believed to have migrated in search of livelihood

Read more...

The politics after the flood

By Rashme Sehgal

While the Centre and the Bihar state wrangle over who should repair the destroyed embankments, those displaced by the recent floods seem destined to spend the winter in the relief camps

Read more...

After the flood

By Rashme Sehgal

A large majority of the flood-affected at Behli and other camps set up by the administration in Bihar are women and children. Our correspondent travelled to the worst-affected districts in Bihar to find out how the administration is coping with a disaster that has affected 3 million

Read more...

Letter from Dhaka: Year of the rats

By Khademul Islam

The bamboo has flowered, rats have invaded the Chittagong Hill Tracts. The indigenous people here are suffering severe food shortages. Around 600,000 have left their homes in search of food

Read more...

A lot more boats but very little fish

By Mari Marcel Thekaekara

Three years after the tsunami there are a lot more boats in areas affected by the disaster. But yields are low and there's a new fear of the sea

Read more...

Wanted: Post-disaster housing audit

By Mari Marcel Thekaekara

Three years after the tsunami, hundreds of ugly cement houses have been built along the Nagapattinam coast by different NGOs. Many are sub-standard, some actually below sea level, many unoccupied. Why do we keep repeating the mistakes of Latur, Gujarat, Orissa?

Read more...

Falling off the map: Orissa's submerged villages

By Richard Mahapatra

In 1930, land records show an area of 320 sq km for the Satabhaya cluster of seven villages near Paradip in Orissa. Land records for 2000 indicate that this area has been reduced to 155 sq km. Five of the seven villages have been swallowed by the sea. Several other villages in Orissa are likely to suffer the same fate. Is Orissa paying the price of climate change? This special series by Richard Mahapatra investigates

Read more...

Sea levels are rising: People's perceptions and scientific projections

By Richard Mahapatra

Are Orissa's coastal villages paying the price of global warming? The scientific community studying Orissa's tryst with disasters is polarised on the issue. But most scientists agree that the state's geographical location at the head of the Bay of Bengal, with a landlocked sea and a deltaic plain, makes the state extremely vulnerable to rises in sea level caused by global warming

Read more...

Death of the seasons

By Richard Mahapatra

The people of Orissa have given a clear verdict: from the number of seasons to the mating habits of birds, they say everything has changed as a result of climate change

Read more...

Ready for change

By Freny Manecksha

Village vignettes from the two-month-long padayatra that wound its way through drought-affected regions of Maharashtra

Read more...

Disaster dossier: The impact of climate change on Orissa

By Richard Mahapatra

For over a decade, Orissa has been teetering from one extreme weather condition to another: from heatwaves to cyclones, drought to floods. The state has been declared disaster-affected for 95 of the last 105 years. Why is this happening? Is it the result of global warming and climate change? Richard Mahapatra, who has been awarded the CCDS-InfoChangeIndia Fellowship for development reportage, explores these questions in the first of a series of articles

Read more...

Drought padayatra: Special Report Agricultural crisis in Vidarbha

By Freny Manecksha

Lured by the promises of seed merchants, Gajanand Dhapse of Kathoda village in Yavatmal cultivated Bt cotton on his 10 acres. His input costs soared, yields dropped, even as the minimum support price dropped. Dhapse is one of hundreds of farmers in Maharashtra's Vidarbha region who are experiencing the devastating effects of degraded lands, unsuitable cropping patterns, and lack of accurate information and institutional credit

Read more...

Abandoned victims of the Kosi embankments

By Dinesh Kumar Mishra

January 2005 marked 50 years since the foundation stone was laid for the building of embankments on the Kosi river, to help control the flooding. It also marked 50 years of neglect of the 'embankment victims' who are forced to live trapped within the structures that were supposed to transform their lives

Read more...

Coastal follies

By Manju Menon and Ashish Kothari

Over 40% of India's mangroves have been destroyed. Coral reefs have been damaged in the Gulfs of Kutch and Mannar, and the Andamans. In Great Nicobar, 21 beaches have been lost to sand mining. Post-tsunami, we've got to rebuild our natural coastal defences

Read more...

Environmental lessons from the tsunami

By Mari Marcel Thekaekara

Indian law prohibits encroachments within 200 metres of the high tide line and 500 metres in certain sensitive areas, for example where turtles are nesting. But the coastal regulations have been repeatedly diluted to promote commercial interests

Read more...

Daily disasters

By Nityanand Jayaraman

Post-tsunami, organisations are vying to adopt this village or set up that school. But tsunami or no tsunami, the urban fisherfolk and coastal poor live in miserable conditions. Why does it take a sudden disaster to mobilise us? What about the daily disaster of living experienced by India's poor and pollution-impacted communities?

Read more...

Adrift on the Brahmaputra

By Kirti Mishra

The crisis of livelihood in flood-affected Assam has reduced former landowners to illegal foragers of driftwood from the river

Read more...

Living with floods

By Naren Karunakaran

There was a time when the people of north Bihar, India's most flood-prone state, celebrated the monsoons and lived with floods. How and when did they become victims of floods, struggling to control the waters? Now, a silent movement to empower citizen's groups to re-establish their cultural ownership over rivers is taking shape

Read more...

Survivors of Latur

By Meena Menon

A decade after the Latur quake killed 8,000 and injured 16,000, there is plenty of evidence of poorly planned and executed disaster management interventions: villages relocated several kilometres from the fields where women work; new toilets constructed but unused because there is no water; newly-built settlements so flimsy that people are afraid to sleep in them

Read more...

Gruel centres across Andhra Pradesh feed the starving

By Meena Menon

In drought-hit Andhra Pradesh, even tea and tubers are no longer available. The thin gruel doled out at various centres keeps hundreds of starving people going

Read more...

Women 'major' in disaster management

By Shruti Gupta

The terrible aftermath of the Orissa supercyclone in 1999 prompted UNDP to launch the Community-Based Disaster Programme (CBDP) which trains small armies of volunteers to handle evacuation, first aid, reconstruction, carcass disposal and counselling in disaster situations

Read more...

Living through the great drought

By Yana Bey

Yana Bey travels through the poverty-stricken Kalahandi-Bolangir-Koraput region of Orissa, meeting villagers with long memories of hard times and starvation

Read more...

Roughshod democracy

By Meena Menon

Rakesh Sharma's film tells of how the GMDC has capitalised on the Gujarat quake to displace the gullible population of two tiny villages. Using a natural calamity to speed up land acquisition speakes of the inhumanity of corporate and State processes

Read more...

Making migration an informed choice

Nearly 30 million people in the Asia Pacific region were displaced by environmental disasters in 2010. Given the inevitability of increased migration caused by climate change, humanitarian assistance and legal protection are not sufficient responses. This ADB Briefing Paper suggests it is a good idea to strengthen the resilience of communities to make migration an informed choice, rather than an act of desperation

Read more...

Preparing for disasters

By Rashme Sehgal

Oxfam's latest report, 'Rethinking Disasters', recommends the integration of disaster risk reduction into sustainable development policies and planning, as well as strengthening institutions that help communities build greater resilience to disasters

Read more...

Human failure exacerbates scale of natural disasters: Oxfam

'Rethinking Disasters', a new report by the international aid agency Oxfam, says political inaction, poor decisions and bad management have turned South Asia into the world's most disaster-prone region

Read more...

Nothing natural about these disasters': UNDP report

The UNDP's 'Reducing Disaster Risk: A Challenge for Development' cautions that natural disasters put an enormous strain on development and are a serious threat to achieving the Millennium Development Goals, particularly the target of halving extreme poverty by 2015

Read more...

Kolkata slumdwellers break down the walls that divide

By Rajashri Dasgupta

The very residents of the Panchanantala slum in Kolkata who are considered a nuisance by the occupants of the high-rises that surround them, who are periodically threatened with eviction and turned away even in emergencies by the specialty AMRI Hospital next door to them, risked their lives to rescue patients from the burning hospital

AMRI Hospital disaster

Read more...

Rain wreaks havoc in northern India

Heavy monsoon rains and landslides swept the hilly areas and Gangetic belt of northern India over the weekend, killing at least 100 people

Read more...

$ 220 million WB credit for Bihar flood-affected areas

The Bihar Kosi Flood Recovery Project will finance flood recovery efforts through the reconstruction of about 100,000 houses, 90 bridges and 290 km of rural roads

Read more...

Bihar, Jharkhand, parts of WB declared drought-affected

Drought in eastern parts of the country has spread to more areas with 24 districts in Jharkhand and 11 districts in West Bengal being declared drought-hit by their respective state governments. Bihar has already declared a drought in all 38 districts

Read more...

Flood aid flowing very slowly to desperate Pakistan

Flood-ravaged Pakistan has received international aid of $ 301 million, but the flow of money remains slow. The devastating floods have affected up to 20 million people and left some 2,000 dead, say officials

Read more...

Cloudburst and flash floods kill scores in Leh

At least 115 people have died and dozens remain missing after flash floods, triggered by a series of cloudbursts, struck Leh town and the adjoining areas on Thursday, sweeping away buildings and military installations. The death toll is likely to rise

Read more...

Floods ravage Pakistan's heartland, killing over 1,000

The worst monsoon floods in living memory have killed around 1,100 people and affected over two-and-a-half million in northwest Pakistan

Read more...

India in the grip of a heat wave

Heat wave conditions across many parts of India have intensified with temperatures as high as 49 degrees Celsius. The death toll this summer has topped 250

Read more...

Cyclone Laila batters India's southeastern coast

At least 26 people are reported to have died and 70,000 evacuated over the last two days as a powerful cyclone causes havoc in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh

Read more...

Storms lash Bihar, West Bengal, killing 130

Rescuers are searching for survivors after a powerful storm killed 130 people in India and Bangladesh. Many more are injured or trapped under rubble as around 100,000 houses were destroyed by winds of up to 160 kph

Read more...

Rain fury claims 250 lives in three Indian states

The heaviest floods in over 100 years have affected the Prakasam barrage on the river Krishna threatening several villages downstream even as the toll from heavy rains and rampaging floods in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra climbs to 250

Read more...

Four lakh people affected by floods in northern Bihar

Over 4 lakh people have been affected by floods in northern Bihar as the Lakhandei river breaches its embankments at two places in Sitamarhi and Muzaffarpur districts. Nearly 25,000 people have been rendered homeless

Read more...

Cyclone Aila toll rises to 200 dead, 500,000 displaced

Tropical cyclone Aila caused chaos in Kolkata and flooded coastal areas of West Bengal before making landfall in southwestern Bangladesh on Monday afternoon. River banks and mud houses in both countries have been flattened, and crops and fisheries damaged

Read more...

Orissa tornado wreaks havoc, kills 15

Many people have been rendered homeless, hundreds are injured, and at least 15 people are reported dead as a tornado swept through 11 villages in Rajkanika block in Orissa

Read more...

Preparing children for disaster in Andhra Pradesh

Twenty NGOs involved in disaster management in Andhra Pradesh train children to recognise cyclone warnings and act on them, build floating devices, rescue and treat the injured and get people safely into cyclone shelters. For the children it's fun and games, but with a very serious undertone

Read more...

An enabling infrastructure can make all the difference

Gram Vikas in Orissa helps villagers build their own disaster-proof houses and village infrastructure. Theirs is a unique and very successful model of disaster preparedness and management

Read more...

Bhuj, January 26-29, 2001

This is Dr Prasun Deb's account of the immediate aftermath of the Gujarat quake, describing how he and other local doctors struggled to give hundreds of patients medical aid in the complete absence of infrastructure. This account was written three days after the quake

Read more...

Rebuilding schools amidst ruins

Bharatiya Jain Sanghathana built the first school within 12 hours of the 2001 earthquake in Gujarat. It then went on to rebuild 626 schools in 444 villages across the state, giving thousands of children a stable environment and hope for the future

Read more...

Women and children first

Orissa's Mamta Gruhs, or temporary shelters, have identified and rehabilitated hundreds of women, children and old people left without families, following the 1999 supercyclone

Read more...