(June 2013 )
In June 2013,
a multiday 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.
OVERVIEW OF UTTRAKHAND
•Uttrakahnd formly known as Uttranchal is a state
in northern part of India.
•Uttarakhand has a total land area of 53,584sqkm
of which 94% is mountaneous and 64% covered by
•Most of the area is covered by himalayan peaks
•Two major rivers Ganga and yamuna originate
from the glaciers of Uttarakhand.
• Uttrakhand is also referred as THE LAND OF GOD.
• The state is well known for “Chota Char Dham”
• Uttrakhand is considered as one of the most
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
A multi-day cloudburst ,centered on the state
Uttarakhand caused devastating floods and
Due to continuous rain the Chorabari Glacier melted
and this triggered the flooding of the Mandakini
Which led to heavy floods near Gobindghat, Kedar
Dome, Rudraprayag district, & Uttarakhand.
Sequence of events culminating into
the June 2013 disaster
•Heavy precipitation in the upper reaches of Uttarakhand (15th–17thJune)
•Bursting of glacial lakes increased debris laden discharge in streams
•Rising of water level upto 5-7 m
•Heavy toe erosion and flooding
•Fresh landsliding along steep river banks & slopes
•Loss of properties and lives & road links
Heavy incessant rainfall –a trigger for
Heavy rainfall in the higher altitude areas
325mm in 24 hours between 5pm 15th June and
5pm 16th June at Chorabari Lake (3960m asl) as
against 272mm in 3 days (15-17June) at Ghuttu
•Sudden increase in daily rainfall in the month of June
2013 as compared to total rainfall of June for last 5years
Increase & pattern in river discharge –a
trigger for bank erosion and landslides
River discharge is mixed with huge supply of debris from upper
reaches: yielding tremendous momentum & erosive power
WAY OF EXCESSIVE FLOODS
144% SURPLUS RAIN HITS UTTARAKHAND
WHY HEAVY RAINFALL…?
• Cloud Bursting-
A cloudburst is an
extreme amount of precipitation, sometimes
with hail and thunder, which normally lasts
no longer than a few minutes but is capable of
creating flood conditions.
• Meteorologists say the rain fall rate equal to or
greater than 100 mm (3.94 inches) per hour is
• Convective Activity –
It is associate
with low pressure systems and these attracts
moisture bearing winds.
• National Institute of Oceanography (Goa) has
predicted the high convective activity in Bay of
Bengal and Eastern Equatorial Indian Ocean
bring rainfall in over subcontinent.
• This brought about a rapid advance of
monsoon a month ahead across the
subcontinent by wind originating from
Eastern Indian Ocean.
• Another cause for heavy flooding of river was
that it snowed heavily in Himalayas in the premonsoon season and by the June the snow
started melting and thus increasing the water
level in rivers.
• Another reason was intense rainfall helped in
causing the melting of snow much faster.
According to NIO that water which has
highest heat capacity than air, helps in
melting of snow or ice much faster when it
come in contact even when both air and water
have same temp.
Damages within flood plains
(an example from Kedarnath)
Although the temple withstood the severity of the floods, the temple
complex and surrounding areas were destroyed by the flood, resulting in
the death of several pilgrims and local people. All the shops and hotels
were destroyed and all roads were broken. Number of people took
shelter inside the temple for hours together , until Indian army airlifted
them to safer places.
• Human impact-580 dead and over 3000 still missing
• The entire village settlement of Gaurikund and market town
Rambada and the transition point of Kedarnath have been
totally destroyed, while the market town of Sonpryag suffered
heavy damage and loss of lives.
• On June 18 more than 12000 pilgrims were stranded at
Badrinath located at bank of Alaknanda river.
• Over 85000 people were struck in various region of
damaged or road blocked.
• People in important location like Valley of Flowers,
Roopkund and the Hemkund were stranded for more than
3 days without ration or survived with little food.
•National Highway 58 neat Jyotimath and many other
places were washed away.
• Rescuers at Haridwar on the river Ganga recovered bodies
of 40 victims washed down by flooded river on 21 June
• In UP more than 600 villages covering population of 7 lakh
were affected by flood and more than 120 deaths were
DEVASTATING EFFECTS OF THE
TSUNAMI IN UTTARAKHAND
Human Reason: • Unplanned development is destroying the ecology
of the mountains.
• None of the environmental laws are properly
implemented in these ecologically fragile areas, and
development is going unabated. Construction of
roads and dams are the main reason for the plight of
COST TO THE ENVIRONMENT
• The mountains of Uttarakhand are fragile and new.
Hence, Uttarakhand is inherently vulnerable to
various kinds of disasters, such as high intensity
rainfall, cloud bursts, landslides, flash floods and
Dams or Destruction ?
A total of 427 dams are
planned to be built on this
river system-roughly 70
projects built or proposed
on the Ganga, all to
generate some 10,000 MW
of power (which will affect
80% of the Bhagirathi and
65% of the Alaknanda.)
For one dam, a stretch of
5-25 kms is being blasted
through the mountains.
Rapid increase in the
number of hydroelectricity
dams in these fragile areas
have led to the disruption
of water balance.
More than 220 power and
mining projects in 14 river
valleys have been carried
Construction is carried out
without the necessary
precautions to minimize
the risks of landslides.
The question is not that hydropower projects should not
be built at all, but is what and how much should be built.
The question also is how the projects should be
constructed so that impacts can be minimised.
Experts say the main indicator of the thriving real estate
business in Uttarakhand is the way river beds are mined
for boulders, pebbles, sand and gravel.
On June 13, 2011, Swami Nigamanand who had been
fasting for 68 days in protest against the indiscriminate
and illegal mining on the Ganga river bed by a local
quarrying and sand mining company, died.
The forest cover in Uttarakhand in 1970
was 84.9%. This got reduced to 75.4%
A total forest area of 5391.17
13,321.83 Acres were diverted for Hydel
projects. An year wise analysis shows
that after the year
maximum diversion of forest had been
done due to Tehri Dam, year 2002 has
witnessed largest forest diversion, but
the first 6 months of 2013 has witnessed
the third largest forest diversion for
hydel projects in Uttarakhand till date.
• The Govt. of Uttarakhand spends Rs. 70 crores every
year (as per books) in order to manage tourism in
• Every year an approx. 3 crores people visit
Uttarakhand, but there is room for only about 2 lakh
• The number of tourists visiting Uttarakhand since
2000 has increased by 155 per cent, according to data
from the Uttarakhand Tourism department.
• The annual number of tourists visiting the state now
is 28 million; the state's population is half this
Inaccurate and incomplete prediction & lack
of action plans.
• Uttarakhand Chief Minister
Vijay Bahugun said ‘that the
Committee in the state had
not met for six years and they
were not at all prepared to
handle such a huge
• The National Disaster
Communication Network and
the National Disaster
System are still in the
planning stage, seven years
Death & destruction
90 per cent of cash crops, particularly the apple
crop, has been completely destroyed by the floods.
Loss to the public and private property estimate
around Rs 2,575 crores as mentioned by the
government, June 30, 2013. Insurance companies
are looking at claims worth more than Rs 1,000 crore
Hundreds of porters and over 2,000 ponies are still
untraceable. A total of 2145 animal loss and 185
animal owners have been affected.
National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and Indo-Tibetan Border
Police (ITBP) personnel have so far rescued 32,772 people from different
areas of Uttarakhand following landslides and floods,
Of the 32,772, including pilgrims and residents, 26,538 were rescued by
ITBP while 6,234 were evacuated by NDRF personnel.
Uttarakhand floods: ISRO defends role in rescue
Defending its role in the rescue operations in the floodravaged Uttarakhand, ISRO had played its role in the largest
rescue operations in the country, saving thousands of lives.
A big salute to the Indian Army and Police for their tireless service
to those in need.
• The Army Air Force, ITBP(Indo-Tibetian Border Police),
BSF(Border Security Force), NDRF(National Disaster
Response Force) and PWD (Public Works Development)
work together for quick response
• By 21 June Army deployed 10000 soldiers and 11 helicopters.
• Navy sent 45 Naval drivers
• Air Force has deployed 43 aircrafts including 36 helicopter.
• From June 17 to June 30 IAF lifted 18424 people flying total
2137 sorties, dropping/landing total of 336930 kg of relief
material and equipment.
• On June 25 3 IAF Mil M-17 rescue helicopter from
Kedarnath carrying 5 Air Force officer and 9 NDRF and 6
ITBP crashed on a mountain slope near GauriKhund
killing on board.
• PM of India undertook an aerial survey of the affected area
and announced Rs 1000 crores aid package for disaster relief.
• Relief fund from other state like UP- 25 crores: Hariyana,
Maharastra and Delhi – 10 crores each: Tamil Nadu, Odisha,
Gujarat, MP and Chhatisghar- 5 crores each.
• The US financial aid of USD $150,000.
• Uttrakhand CM bans on construction along river banks.
• Google launches People Finder web-app to help find persons
missing in Uttarakhand.
• Indian Army launches websites on Uttarakhand relief.
Points to be Considered…
• There is need for the development of mechanisms for
better management of tourism and the tourist.
• There is definitely a lack of coordination for disaster
management strategies at the local level.
• Proper land use policies should also be framed in
order to regulate construction activities in the
floodplains of the rivers.
• Application of remote sensing technology for the
development of holistic data base for agriculture, water,
forests, pastures, landscapes and other natural resources
for the sustainable management of Himalayas should be in
We need to concentrate on areas like water-shed
development and afforestation.
Green development is far more sustainable and equitable
than profit driven development.
Lastly, these calamities and destruction may primarily be
caused by nature but they are man-made too.
→ Global warming, greenhouse effect, melting of glaciers,
deforestation etc., to begin with.
We don't realise the extent of the circumstances of our own