|LETTER TO THE EDITOR
|Year : 2013 | Volume
| Issue : 2 | Page : 124
Uttarakhand disaster: Is it natural or man-made?
Harshal Tukaram Pandve1, Balkrishna S Lanjewar2
1 Department of Community Medicine, Smt. Kashibai Navale Medical College, Narhe, Pune, India
2 Department of Community Medicine, Dr. D.Y. Patil Medical College, Pimpri, Pune, Maharashtra, India
|Date of Web Publication||4-Mar-2014|
Harshal Tukaram Pandve
Department of Community Medicine, Smt. Kashibai Navale Medical College, Narhe, Pune - 411 041, Maharashtra
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|How to cite this article:|
Pandve HT, Lanjewar BS. Uttarakhand disaster: Is it natural or man-made?. Int J Health Syst Disaster Manage 2013;1:124
The incessant rain that hit Uttarakhand state of India from June 14, 2013 triggered flash floods and landslides leading to thousand of deaths, another thousand missing  and some thousand crore rupees of property loss.
Heavy rainfall has wreaked havoc on the region because of fragile nature of the himalayan ranges and poor soil stability in its steep slopes. But it is man-made factors that have compounded the scale of the disaster. Unabated expansion of hydro-power projects and construction of roads to accommodate ever increasing tourism, especially religious tourism are also major causes of unprecedented scale of devastation.  Uttarakhand has seen a 1000 per cent increase in vehicular traffic in last eight years. As per the Uttarakhand State Transport Department, data show that in 2005-06, 83,000 odd vehicles were registered in the state. The figure rose to nearly 180,000 in 2012-13. Out of this, proportion of cars, jeeps and taxis, which is the most preferred means of transport for tourist landing in the state, increased the most. In 2005-06, 4000 such vehicles were registered, which jumped to 40,000 in 2012-13. It is an established fact that there is a straight co-relation between tourism increase and higher incidence of landslides. The expansion of roads has proved a major destabilizing factor combined as it is with plans to construct dams in this sensitive eco-zone. ,
This disaster has been caused by unplanned development. Need of the hour is to take appropriate lesson from such devastating disaster and re-think, revise concept of development especially in eco-sensitive areas. First and foremost, there is a need for dividing the entire region into suitable eco-sensitive zones for better planning of the relevant developmental works, which are usually carried out without taking due cognizance of the geo-physical nature of the local terrain and topography. 
To conclude, though it is a natural calamity but nature cannot be blamed alone because as per factors mentioned above, man has played an equal, if not greater role in this disaster. Rather it can also be said that it was a man-made disaster super-imposed on a natural disaster. This disaster may prove to be a greater tragedy if no lessons are learnt from it.
| References|| |
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