Natural Disasters in India with Special Reference to Tamil Nadu

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J. Acad. Indus. Res. Vol. 1(2) July 2012

59
ISSN: 2278-5213

REVIEW

Natural disasters in India with special reference to Tamil Nadu A. Stephen Dept. of Ecology, French Institute of Pondicherry, Puducherry-605001, India stephanos.crown@gmail.com; +91 9841890069 ____________________________________________________________________________________________

Abstract
Natural disasters in India, many of them related to the climate of India, cause massive losses of Indian life and property. Droughts, flash floods, cyclones, avalanches, landslides brought on by torrential rains and snowstorms pose the greatest threats. Landslides are common in the Lower Himalayas. Parts of the Western Ghats also suffer from low-intensity landslides. Floods are the most common natural disaster in India. The heavy southwest monsoon rains cause the Brahmaputra and other rivers to distend their banks, often flooding surrounding areas. Though they provide rice paddy farmers with a largely dependable source of natural irrigation and fertilization, the floods can kill thousands and displace millions. Excess, erratic, or untimely monsoon rainfall may also wash away or otherwise ruin crops. Almost all of India is flood-prone, and extreme precipitation events, such as flash floods and torrential rains, have become increasingly common in central India over the past several decades, coinciding with rising temperatures. Mean annual precipitation totals have remained steady due to the declining frequency of weather systems that generate moderate amounts of rain. A natural disaster might be caused by earthquakes, flooding, volcanic eruption, landslide, hurricanes etc. In order to be classified as a disaster it will have profound environmental effect and/or human loss and frequently incurs financial loss. This review elucidates the natural disasters of Tamil Nadu and its possible cause as well as the preventive/mitigation measures. Keywords: Natural disasters, droughts, flash floods, cyclones, avalanches, landslides, hurricanes.

Introduction
At the global level, there has been considerable concern over natural disasters. Many natural disasters in India have caused havoc to the life and property of citizens and nature as a whole from time to time. Because of this, United Nations General Assembly, in 1989, declared the decade 1990-2000 as the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction with the objective to reduce loss of lives and property and restrict socio-economic damage through concerted international action for appropriate management strategies, especially in the developing countries. These disasters include cyclones, floods, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, famines, drought, landslides etc. Amongst all the ones mentioned floods and earthquakes are the most common in India. India is no exception as it has been traditionally vulnerable to natural disasters on account of its unique geo-climatic conditions. Floods, droughts, cyclones, earthquakes and landslides have been recurrent phenomena in India due to large population growth, and migration into urban areas (De et al., 2005). Tamil Nadu has witnessed havoc caused by cyclones and storm surge in the coastal regions, earthquakes, monsoon floods, landslides, and recently the Tsunami. Increase in urban population coupled with the construction of man-made structures often poorly built and maintained subject cities to greater levels of risk to life and property in the event of earthquakes and other natural hazards.

India is an area of 3,287,263 square kilometers and a coastline of 7516 km, with the last official census in 2001 showing a population 1.028 billion people (MIB, 2009). Tamil Nadu covers an area of 130, 0582 kms and has a coastline of about 1,076 kms which is about 15% of the coastline of India (Byravan et al., 2011). More than 40% of the fisher population lives within 1km of coast and 50% of them live within 2 km of the coast. The geographical setting of Tamil Nadu makes the...
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