INTRODUCTION TO DISASTER
1.1 THE HISTORY OF DISASTERS IN INDIA
Year 2005, say India should hang her head in shame. With the Bengal famine, Orissa Super Cyclone, Latur earthquake, Bhopal chemical disaster, Andhra cyclone, Gujarat earthquake, recurring floods, Mumbai 2008 bomb blasts and many other disasters there is no foyer in the world with space large enough to exhibit the collective pain on the face of India. India has ranked at the top or near top in almost all type of disasters with number of deaths and people affected. India does not appear in the world tally of damages in financial terms due to disasters because of poverty and lack of infrastructure. Indian history is dappled with so many disasters that it is difficult to cover in a section of the chapter in a book. Therefore, only a sample of disasters is given in this chapter. Some type of disasters and some of the disasters need to be excluded due to space limitations.
Historically India has suffered from droughts and famine. The world’s top 2nd to 5th droughts, according to number of people killed, occurred in India. And, the world’s top 1st to 5th, and 8th drought, according to number of people affected, also occurred in India.
The main droughts were:
Drought of 1900, killing 1.25 million people.
Drought of 1942, killing 1.5 million people.
Drought of 1943, in Easter part of Bengal (now part of Bangladesh) killing 1.9 million people.
Drought of 1965, killing 1.5 million and affecting 100 million people.
Drought of 1972, affecting 200 million people.
Drought of June 1982, affecting 100 million people.
Drought of May 1987, affecting 300 million people.
Drought of April 2000, affecting 50 million people.
Drought of July 2002, affecting 310 million people.
The main famines were:
In the year 650, famine throughout India.
1022, and 1033, great famines, entire provinces were depopulated.
1344-1345, great famine.
1396-1407, the Durga Devi famine.
1630-1631, there was