The glacial outburst that supposedly caused the flash flood in Uttarakhand's Chamoli district has once again highlighted the delicate ecosystem in the disaster-prone area. India is among the top three countries that faced a maximum number of natural disasters in recent years. Apart from the United States, India and China were worst-affected by to natural calamities in recent years due to large population.
According to India Today report, in India and China, around 280 crore people were affected between 2000 and 2009, which is approximately 70 per cent of the global mass.
The report by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction claimed that around 80,000 people perished and 108 crore people were affected in 321 natural disasters in India. Meanwhile, China had 1.13 lakh human casualties and registered 577 natural disasters affecting nearly 173 crore people.
Union Minister of Earth Sciences, Dr Harsh Vardhan, while replying to a question in Lok Sabha, said, "Extreme climate events or disaster weather events have increased significantly across India during the 21st century."
"The increase in various extreme weather conditions such as heavy rains, floods, droughts, cyclones, and heat and cold waves have been observed in India in line with the increase in such extreme events in various parts of the globe," he added.
Heavy Rainfall and Floods
On an average, India witnesses 17 floods every year affecting around 34.5 crores people. On the other hand, China experienced more than 20 floods each year in the last 20 year, affecting around 90 crore people.
The most destructive floods for India was Uttarakhand flood in 2013 that claimed 6,053 human lives followed up by Kerala flash flood in 2018 in which 504 people lost their lives.
A cyclone is a storm or system of winds that rotates about a centre of low atmospheric pressure at a speed of 30 to 50 km per hour. Since 2012, India has witnessed the wrath of cyclones on 41 occasions, 28 of which were of severe category. In 2020 alone, India was hit by five cyclones Amphan, Nisarga, Nivar, Burevi and Gati.
Drought is one of the most unfortunate events that occur across the globe. In the last 20 years, 2002 and 2015, the world witnessed some of the severest droughts. In India, almost 30 crore people are affected by drought in the two years.
Heat Waves is a period of unusually hot weather. The frequency of heatwaves has increased due to global warming. Of the total deaths due to heatwaves in the last two decades, 13 per cent were registered in India, Australia and Europe. In the May-June 2015 heatwave, India lost 2,248 lives.