Recently, the Ministry of Home Affairs has informed that nearly 6,800 people lost their lives in the country (West Bengal tops the list) over the past three years due to hydro-meteorological calamities such as flash floods, landslides and cyclones

Important points:

  • Natural hazards are severe natural phenomena or events, broadly classified in two categories: hydro-meteorological and geological hazards.
  • Tropical cyclones, heavy rainfall, severe thunderstorms, floods and drought are hydro-meteorological hazards whereas earthquakes and volcanic eruptions are grouped under geological hazards.
  • Landslides and avalanches are caused by a combination of geological and hydro-meteorological factors.
  • The basic reason for the high vulnerability of the country to natural disasters is its unique geographical and geological situations.
  • As far as the vulnerability to disaster is concerned, the four distinctive regions of the country i.e. Himalayan region, the alluvial plains, the hilly part of the peninsula, and the coastal zone have their own specific problems.
  • While on one hand the Himalayan region is prone to disasters like earthquakes and landslides, the plain is affected by floods almost every year.
  • The desert part of the country is affected by droughts and famine while the coastal zone is susceptible to cyclones and storms.
  • Various human induced activities like increasing demographic pressure, deteriorating environmental conditions, deforestation, unscientific development, faulty agricultural practices and grazing, unplanned urbanisation, construction of large dams on river channels etc. are also responsible for accelerated impact and increase in frequency of disasters in the country .


  • Disaster impacts individuals physically (through loss of life, injury, health, disability) as well as psychologically.
  • The disaster results in displacement of people, and displaced populations often face several challenges in new settlements, in this process the poor become more poor.
  • Disaster can alter the natural environment, loss of habitat to many plants and animals and cause ecological stress that can result in biodiversity loss.

Disaster Management:

  • It was established in 2005, under the Disaster Management (DM) Act 2005
  • Released in 2016, it is the first ever national plan prepared in the country for disaster management.
  • Headed by the Chief Minister of the respective state, SDMA lays down the policies and plans for disaster management in the state.
  • Section 25 of the DM Act provides for the constitution of DDMA for every district of a state.

Way Forward

  • Although the DM Act has undoubtedly filled a huge gap in the scheme of governmental actions towards dealing with disasters, laying down elaborate plans on paper doesn’t serve the purpose unless they are translated into effective implementation.
  • Civil society, private enterprises and Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs) can play a valuable role towards building a safer India.



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