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Insurance Article

Worst Natural Disasters in Recent Times in India and Their Impact

August 23 2016
City submerged in flood water

A glimpse through tragic natural disasters that India witnessed in the past two decades

India’s geography and climatic conditions along with the socio-economic vulnerability have made it one of the most disaster prone nations in the world. As per The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), India ranked third among the top five most disaster hit nations in the world in 2015.

The year 2015 witnessed severe droughts, earthquakes and floods in several parts of the nation causing over 2,800 deaths and economic damages in excess of ` 22,000 crores. Here are some of the tragic disasters India witnessed in the last two decades.

  • Odisha Cyclone (1999)

    On 25th October, a tropical depression began over Malay Peninsula that soon took the form of a tropical storm and continued to strengthen over the next 3 days. It soon took the form of a devastating cyclone, the strongest tropical cyclone ever recorded in the North Indian Ocean. It hit Odisha on 29th October at a speed of 250 km/h, killing over 10,000 people and destructing everything that came in its path.

  • Gujarat Earthquake (2001)

    When the nation was celebrating its 52nd republic day, an earthquake of magnitude 7.7 hit Gujarat, with an epicentre in a village in Kutch district. It completely devastated the city of Bhuj in Kutch district along with severe loss of lives and property in Ahmedabad. As per National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), more than 13,805 people lost their lives, 6.3 million people were affected and nearly 400,000 homes were destroyed.

  • The Indian Ocean Tsunami (2004)

    The Indian Ocean Tsunami occurred on 26th December with an epicentre off the west coast of Sumatra, Indonesia. The earthquake had a moment magnitude of 9.1-9.3 that lasted for 10 minutes with an average intensity of 8.3, killing 2,30,000 people in 14 countries. In India, states like Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Andaman and Nicobar Islands were severely affected. As per NDMA, 10,749 people lost their lives, 5,640 people went missing, 2.79 million people were affected, 11,827 hectares of crops were damaged and 300,000 fishermen lost their livelihood.

  • Uttarakhand Flash Floods (2013)

    The Indian Ocean Tsunami occurred on 26th December with an epicentre off the west coast of Sumatra, Indonesia. The earthquake had a moment magnitude of 9.1-9.3 that lasted for 10 minutes with an average intensity of 8.3, killing 2,30,000 people in 14 countries. In India, states like Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Andaman and Nicobar Islands were severely affected. As per NDMA, 10,749 people lost their lives, 5,640 people went missing, 2.79 million people were affected, 11,827 hectares of crops were damaged and 300,000 fishermen lost their livelihood.

  • Kashmir Floods (2014)

    Jammu & Kashmir and its adjoining areas started receiving heavy rainfall from 2nd September 2014 and soon after, on 5th September Jhelum River in Srinagar started overflowing. Soon the river flooded the streets, submerging vital transportation routes and causing several casualties and huge loss of property. Approximately 277 people lost their lives in India in Kashmir floods.

  • Cyclone Hudhud Vishakhapatnam (2014)

    Originated from a low pressure system in the Andaman Sea on 6th October 2014, Hudhud transformed into a severe cyclonic storm by 9th October. It reached its peak strength with a wind speed of 175 km/h, shortly before hitting Vishakhapatnam. It caused extensive damage to the city and neighbouring areas including approximately 124 deaths and damages of around `21, 900 crores.

  • Chennai Floods (2015)

    Heavy rainfall due to annual northeast monsoon in the month of November-December 2015 severely affected the southern parts of India, especially Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. More than 500 people lost their lives and over 18 lakhs were displaced. The damages are estimated to be in excess of ` 20,000 crores, making it one of the costliest disaster of the year.

Natural disasters are unavoidable and uncontrollable, but an insurance reduces the risk of personal and property damage during a disaster significantly. Despite an increase in natural calamities, people still ignore buying an insurance to protect their lives and property. Disasters often create an interest in people’s mind but only for a few weeks. People need to understand the benefits involved and should buy an insurance coverage for their home and property, especially if they are living in a disaster prone area.

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