Sunday, August 11, 2013

Uttarakhand disaster : An analysis !

Uttarakhand floods are the consequences of excessive human intervention in nature's scheme. Increase in human activities of encroaching into nature produced such  brutal result. Demand for energy and needs of ever increasing population have forced the human to exploit natural resources without considering its impact over the environment. 

Cloud burst which is considered as the main reason for this disaster is not new to Uttharakhand. For the people and Governments who argue that cloud-burst was the main factor behind the incident there are many references to the past which show that such a heavy rainfall is not new and more than the rainfall his year was recorded in the previous years.  Uttarakhand region witnessed such heavy rainfalls as the records show that Uttarakhand has recorded single-day rainfall in excess of 400 mm several times, including 450 mm in 1995 and 900 mm in 1965. Cloudbursts, floods and rapid swelling of fast-flowing rivers aren't uncommon. 

But this time the flood waters were loaded with thousands of tones of silt, boulders and debris from dam construction, found no outlet. The routes they took in the past, including ravines and streams, were blocked with sand and rocks. The waters deluged towns and villages, submerging many buildings under several feet of mud as shown in the given picture.

Many of the constructions in the region are illegal and tourist hotels that raised were out of penny's greed because constructions were built on sloppy ridge areas in which the digging is completely banned. This was evident from areal view of the image given above. Neither the radar technology nor the well equipped with seismology driven equipment were installed to predict the disaster forehand.

Development in hilly areas and along rivers, growth of illicit tourism, lack of an early warning system, ineffective evacuation plans, ineffective disaster management techniques, large scale deforestation, indiscriminate construction of hydroelectric dams and global warming are the main causes of the floods.

Empowering the disaster management authorities is at the need of the hour in all states especially the seismic zones and hilly areas. Use of modern technology for an aerial survey with the help of meteorological departments and experts on the pertinent matters can help mitigate the situations. Development should not come at the cost of our environment. More construction activities does not mean more development, rather they should be people oriented. Redevelopment to small scale industries like cottage industries will be apt and construction of small hydel power projects rather than big dams should be given priority.  An environment friendly ecosystem should be given the highest priority.


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