The Impact of Flash Floods
The flash floods that hit Uttarakhand – the north-western Indian state in the Himalayan region, on 16 June 2013, claimed over 6000 lives – which includes 5474 people declared as ‘untraceable’ and therefore feared dead.
Days after the incident, many bodies were still being recovered from distant downstream towns.
The official death toll, confirmed by the Indian Government on 6 August 2013 – 50 days after the catastrophic tragedy, spoke volumes of the sheer difficulty in tracing the magnitude of damage.
On 16 June, the floods ravaged and washed away virtually everything – houses, roads, buildings and bridges that came in their way. According to a Bloomberg report the economic losses are estimated to be around $1.1 b.
However, the unprecedented destruction caused to over 4000 villages in the region will have long term social consequences as people struggle to recover from major loss of loss of property and livelihood.
The psychological impact on families that lost their dear ones, especially those whose bodies could not be found, is going to be profound.
The recovery process is expected to be slow and may witness some radical changes via new regulations pertaining to road and building construction, commercial operations, monitoring of pilgrims, advanced weather warning and disaster management system in the affected region.