The recent Uttarakand disaster has left more than 800 people dead and many more missing. There have been many stories on what really happened and what really caused this disaster. The media hype over the disaster is slowing down and the reality is emerging.
An article in the Landslide blog of the American Geographical Union looks into the history in the area and looks at the land use changes that have taken place near the “Kendranath temple” over the last 50 years. It uses photographs and satellite imagery to clearly indicate the extent of land use change in terms of haphazard development. It seems that the main reason for the disaster is bad development choices. It is important to note that South Asia Disaster Report (SADR 2008) argued “The disasters, by and large are designed by the conscious and unconscious human interventions, exacerbated by reactive thinking, policy failures and institutional neglect”. The information emerging from Uttarakand reinforces this argument.
Duryog Nivaran feels that the business as usual post disaster reconstruction and rehabilitation in the area would not reduce risk of future disasters unless all agencies involved in the rehabilitation and reconstruction process evaluate the future risks and integrate risk reduction measures in a holistic manner. Furthermore, the state government and the centre could not disregard the environmental and social safeguard issues any longer and development strategies for the area has to rethink before the next tragedy.
Please read the AGU blog at