In June 2013, a mid-day cloudburst centered on the North Indian state of Uttrakhand caused devastating floods and landslides, becoming the country's worst natural disaster since the 2004 tsunami. The rainfall received that month was far greater than the rainfall the state usually received. Debris blocked the rivers, causing major overflow. The main day of the flood was 16 June 2013.
Though some parts of Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh in India experienced heavy rainfall, some regions of Western Nepal, and some parts of Western Tibet also experienced heavy rainfall, which drained via the river system to inundate Uttarakhand; hence, over 89% of the casualties occurred in that state. As of 16 July 2013 , according to figures provided by the Government of Uttarakhand, more than 5,700 people were "presumed dead." This total included 934 local residents.
Destruction of bridges and roads left about 300,000 pilgrims and tourists trapped in the valleys leading to three of the four Hindu Chota Char Dham pilgrimage sites. The Indian Air Force, the Indian Army, and paramilitary troops evacuated more than 110,000 people from the flood-ravaged area.
From 16 June 2013 a well-marked cyclonic circulation developed around a low pressure area over the Bay of Bengal, moving westwardly, rapidly intensified due to moisture supplied from both the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea, combining with intense western disturbances from the north, thus causing the Indian state of Uttarakhand and adjoining areas to receive heavy rainfall, leading to 375% of the benchmark rainfall during a normal monsoon. This caused the melting of Chorabari Glacier at the height of 3800 meters and cresting of the Mandakini River, which led to heavy floods near Gobindghat, Kedar Dome, Rudraprayag district, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Western Nepal, and acute rainfall in other nearby regions of Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and some parts of Tibet.
The upper Himalayan territories of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand are full of forests and snow-covered mountains and thus remain relatively inaccessible. They are home to several major and historic Hindu and Sikh pilgrimage sites besides several tourist spots and trekking trails. Heavy rainfall for four consecutive days as well as melting snow aggravated the floods. Warnings by the India Meteorological Department predicting heavy rains were not given wide publicity beforehand, causing thousands of people to be caught unaware, resulting in huge loss of life and property.
Landslides, due to the floods, damaged several houses and structures, killing those who were trapped. The heavy rains resulted in large flash floods and massive landslides. Entire villages and settlements such as Gaurikund and the market town of Ram Bada, a transition point to Kedarnath, had been obliterated, while the market town of Sonprayag suffered heavy damage and loss of lives. Pilgrimage centres in the region, including Gangotri, Yamunotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath, the hallowed Hindu Chardham (four sites) pilgrimage centers, are usually visited by thousands of devotees, especially after the month of July on wards. Over 70,000 people were stuck in various regions because of damaged or blocked roads. People in other important locations like the Valley of flowers, Roopkund and the Sikh pilgrimage centre Hemkund were stranded for more than three days. National Highway 7 (Old National Highway 58), an important artery connecting the region was also washed away near Jyotirmath and in many other places. Because summers have more number of tourists, the number of people impacted is substantial. For more than three days, stranded pilgrims and tourists were without rations or survived on little food. The roads were seriously damaged at more than 450 places, resulting in huge traffic jams, and the floods caused many cars and other vehicles to be washed away. On 18 June, more than 12,000 pilgrims were stranded at Badrinath, the popular pilgrimage center located on the banks of the Alaknanda River. Rescuers at the Hindu pilgrimage town of Haridwar on the river Ganga recovered bodies of 40 victims washed down by the flooded rivers as of 21 June 2013. Bodies of people washed away in Uttarakhand were found in distant places like Bijnor, Allahabad and Bulandshahr in Uttar Pradesh. Searching for bodies who died during the extreme natural fury of June in Kedar valley continued for several months and even as late as September 2013, about 556 bodies were found out of which 166 bodies were found in highly decomposed state during fourth round of search operations.
The Kedarnath Temple, before the floods
Although the Kedarnath Temple was not damaged, its base was inundated with water, mud and boulders from the landslide, damaging its perimeter. Many hotels, rest houses and shops around the temple in Kedarnath township were destroyed, resulting in several casualties. Most of the destruction at Kedarnath was caused by a sudden rapid melting of ice and snow on the Kedarnath Mountain, 6 km (3.7 mi) from the temple, which flooded the Chorabari Lake (upstream) and then Kedarnath. The temple was flooded with water resulting in several deaths due to drowning and panic-driven stampede. Even after a week, dead bodies had not been removed from Kedarnath town, resulting in water contamination in the Kedarnath valley and villagers who depend on spring water suffered various types of health problems such as fever and diarrhea. When the flood receded, satellite images showed one new stream at Kedarnath town. No damage at the Kedarnath Temple occurred. The Uttarakhand Government announced that due to the extensive damage to the infrastructure, the temple will be temporarily closed to regular pilgrims and tourists for a year or two, but the temple rituals will still be maintained by priests. The Temple opened for pilgrims on Sunday, 4 May 2014.
Other regions affected by the disaster
National Capital Region
New Delhi, Gurugram, Faridabad and surrounding areas received a high amount of rainfall on 16 June 2013, leading to flooding of the low-lying areas of the cities. The Yamuna River swelled to a new height of 207.75 meters submerging the low lying flood plains along the banks.
Six-hundred and nine villages, covering a population of 700,000, in 23 districts of Uttar Pradesh were affected by the flood and drought. As of 11 July 2013
, more than 120 deaths were reported from the state. The number of people who went to Uttarakhand were mostly from Uttar Pradesh
In Himachal Pradesh, floods caused loss of life and property and death toll in the state was 20.
About 6000 citizens of Nepal were visiting the Indian region, of which 1,000 were rescued as of 22 June 2013. Flooding of the Dhauliganga and the Mahakali rivers had caused extensive damage, with reports of 128 houses and 13 government offices swept away and over 1000 people homeless. A bridge that joins the India-Nepal border was highly damaged.
Satellite image of the affected region, taken on 30 May by NASA
Same location, shot on 21 June floods
The Indian Army, Air Force, Navy, Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), Border S
National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), Public Works Department and local administrations worked together for quick rescue operations. Several thousand soldiers were deployed for the rescue missions. Activists of political and social organisations were also involved in the rescue and management of relief centres. The national highway and other important roads were closed to regular traffic. Helicopters were used to rescue people, but due to the rough terrain, heavy fog and rainfall, manoeuvring them was a challenge. By 21 June 2013, the Army had deployed 10,000 soldiers and 11 helicopters, the Navy had sent 45 naval divers, and the Air force had deployed 43 aircraft including 36 helicopters. From 17 to 30 June 2013, the IAF airlifted a total of 18,424 people - flying a total of 2,137 sorties and dropping/landing a total of 3,36,930 kg of relief material and equipments.
On 25 June, one of 3 IAF Mil Mi-17 rescue helicopters returning from Kedarnath, carrying 5 Air Force Officers, 9 of the NDRF, and 6 of the ITBP crashed on a mountainous slope near Gauri Kund, killing all on board. The deceased soldiers were given a ceremonial Guard of honour by Home minister of India, at a function organised by the Uttarakhand State Government.
Animals suffered greatly during the calamity
Indo Tibetan border Police (ITBP) a Force which guards the Indo China borders on the high himalayas with its 3 Regional Response Centres (RRCs) based at Matli (Uttarkashi), Gauchar (Chamoli) and Pithoragarh swung into action and started rescue and relief operation. 2000 strong ITBP force with its mountaineering skills and improvisation methods started rescue of stranded pilgrims. It was a simultaneous effort by ITBP at Kedar ghati, Gangotri valley and Govind ghat areas. According to official figures by ITBP, they were able to rescue 33,009 pilgrims in 15 days on their own from extreme remote and inaccessible areas. Before Army or Air Force called in, being deployed in the nearby areas, ITBP took the first call and saved many lives. They also distributed food packets to stranded pilgrims who were in a pathetic condition being not having any food for more than 72 hours at many places.
The Prime Minister of India Manmohan Singh undertook an aerial survey of the affected areas and announced ₹10 billion (US$140 million) aid package for disaster relief efforts in the state. Several state governments announced financial assistance, with Uttar Pradesh pledging ₹250 million (US$3.5 million), the governments of Haryana, Maharashtra and Delhi ₹100 million (US$1.4 million) each, the governments of Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh ₹50 million (US$700,000) each. The US Ambassador to India extended a financial help of US$150,000 through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to the NGOs working in the area  and announced that the US will provide further financial aid of US$75,000. The help was later politely rejected by Government of India. The Government of Kerala offered 20 million rupees and all ministers offered one month's salary.
The Government of India also cancelled 9 batches, or half the annual batches of the Kailash-Mansarovar Yatra, a Hindu pilgrimage. The Chardham Yatra pilgrimage, covering Gangotri, Yamunotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath was cancelled for 2 years to repair damaged roads and infrastructure, according to the Uttarakhand Government.
Government agencies and priests of Kedarnath temple were planning mass cremation of the hundreds of victims, after one week of tragedy. Local youths from several affected villages near Gangotri helped stranded tourists and pilgrims, by sending messages to their places and by providing food. Rescuers also retrieved approximately ₹10 million (US$140,000) and other jewellery from local persons, including some people dressed like sadhu babas, who reportedly collected it from a destroyed building of a Bank and damaged shops.
Nehru Institute of Mountaineering (NIM) was given the responsibility of Rebuilding Kedarnath. Although the institute did not have the expertise in urban planning or construction, they mastered in high altitude training. Under the leadership of veteran mountaineer, Colonel Ajay Kothiyal, NIM rigorously worked for a year and made the pilgrimage yatra possible from the next year
Climate and environmental factors
A study by Utah State University analyzed the natural and anthropogenic influences on the climate anomalies using simulations, and found that (a) northern India has experienced increasingly large rainfall in June since the late 1980s, (b) the increase in rainfall appears to be associated with a tendency in the upper troposphere towards amplified short waves, and (c) the phasing of such amplified short waves is tied to increased loading of green-house gases and aerosols. In addition, a regional modeling diagnosis attributed 60–90 % of rainfall amounts in the June 2013 event to post-1980 climate trends.
Unprecedented destruction the rainfall witnessed in Uttarakhand state was also attributed, by environmentalists, to unscientific developmental activities undertaken in recent decades contributing to high level of loss of property and lives. Roads constructed in haphazard style, new resorts and hotels built on fragile river and more than 70 hydroelectric projects in the watersheds of the state led to a "disaster waiting to happen" as termed by certain environmentalists. The environmental experts reported that the tunnels built and blasts undertaken for the 70 hydro electric projects contributed to the ecological imbalance in the state, with flows of river water restricted and the streamside development activity contributing to a higher number of landslides and more flooding.
In popular culture
A novel titled A Long Journey was written and published by independent author Pawan Kumar Pandey, who has the floods and the resulting tragedy in his background.
The 2018 film Kedarnath starring Sushant Singh Rajput and Sara Ali Khan tells a love story set in the times of the disaster in the valley around the Kedarnath Temple.
- ^ a b Kumar, Siddhartha (15 July 2013). "5,748 feared dead after India floods". IOL News. Retrieved 19 September 2013.
- ^ "India raises flood death toll to 5,700 as all missing persons now presumed dead". CBS News. 16 July 2013. Retrieved 16 July 2013.
- ^ "India says 5,748 missing in floods now presumed dead", Fox News, 15 July 2013
- ^ a b c d Kala, C. P. (2014). "Deluge, tire disaster and development in Uttarakhand Himalayan region of India: Challenges and lessons for disaster management". International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction. 8: 143–152. doi:10.1016/j.ijdrr.2014.03.002.
- ^ a b "Uttarakhand: Army Commander walks with 500 people out of Badrinath". NDTV.com.
- ^ "Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh battered by rain: death toll rises to 130, more than 70,000 stranded". NDTV. 19 June 2013. Retrieved 19 June 2013.
- ^ "Heavy rain lashes north India, 50 killed". The Times of India. 18 June 2013. Archived from the original on 21 June 2013. Retrieved 19 June 2013.
- ^ a b "Monsoon fury in north India: 131 dead(the locals believe the true figure to be in the region of 5000), 70,000 stranded; Kedarnath town ruined". Dehra dun/Shimla. Hindustan Times. 19 June 2013. Archived from the original on 20 June 2013. Retrieved 19 June 2013.
- ^ Chandramohan, C.K. (23 June 2013). "Uttarakhand floods: Over 10,000 rescued amidst misery and devastation". The Hindu. Chennai, India. Retrieved 24 June 2013.
- ^ "India Intensifies its Rescue Efforts". The Wall Street Journal. 23 June 2013. Retrieved 24 June 2013.
- ^ "Uttarakhand Disaster 2013" (PDF). National Institute of Disaster Management, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. 2013. p. 41. Retrieved 14 December 2018.
- ^ "Uttarakhand: Rescue efforts in full swing; 102 dead, 72000 stranded-India News". IBNLive Mobile. 18 June 2013. Retrieved 22 June 2013.
- ^ Kedarnath temple in Uttarakhand survives glacier, floods | Down To Earth
- ^ a b c "Uttarakhand floods, landslides leave 40 dead; over 60,000 stranded". IBN Live. 18 June 2013. Archived from the original on 21 June 2013. Retrieved 18 June 2013.
- ^ a b c d e f "58 dead, over 58,000 trapped as rains batter Uttarakhand, UP". Business Standard. 18 June 2013. Retrieved 18 June 2013.
- ^ a b "Uttarakhand worst hit as rain, floods kill at least 60 in north India". The Indian Express. 18 June 2013. Retrieved 18 June 2013.
- ^ "Recipe for disaster in Uttarakhand: 1 crore population, 2.5 crore tourists". The Times of India. 23 June 2013. Archived from the original on 26 June 2013. Retrieved 24 June 2013.
- ^ "AP pilgrims stranded in Uttarakhand". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 17 June 2013. Retrieved 18 June 2013.
- ^ PTI (19 June 2013). "Relief work picks up momentum as north India reels under severe flood". The Indian Express. Retrieved 19 June 2013.
- ^ a b "Flood Fury Toll Now 131". The Pioneer, Dehradun. 19 June 2013. Retrieved 19 June 2013.
- ^ "Flood of woes". Mid-Day. 20 June 2013. Retrieved 20 June 2013.
- ^ "Over 500 dead in Uttarakhand flood, toll may rise". The Hindustan Times. 21 June 2013. Retrieved 21 June 2013.
- ^ Tripathi, Aashish (22 June 2013). "Uttarakhand floods: 13 bodies recovered in UP rivers". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 26 June 2013. Retrieved 26 June 2013.
- ^ "Uttarakhand tragedy: 68 more bodies found in Kedar Valley". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 7 September 2013. Retrieved 7 September 2013.
- ^ "Kedarnath temple stays intact, its surroundings have gone with flow". Hindustan Times. 18 June 2013. Retrieved 19 June 2013.
- ^ "Uttarakhand floods: Epidemic looms as people complain of fever, diarrhoea". The Times of India. 26 June 2013. Retrieved 26 June 2013.
- ^ a b "Kedarnath temple closed for a year, PM announces Rs 1,000 crore relief for Uttarakhand". The Times of India. 19 June 2013. Retrieved 19 June 2013.
- ^ "Kedarnath yatra may take 2-3 years to start: Sources". 19 June 2013. Archived from the original on 23 June 2013. Retrieved 24 June 2013.
- ^ "No Kedarnath yatra for 2 years, says Bahuguna". 24 June 2013. Retrieved 24 June 2013.
- ^ "Kedarnath temple reopens for devotees". The Indian Express. 12 May 2014.
Sacred portals of the Kedarnath temple were reopened to devotees amid elaborate rituals early morning on Sunday (May 4), about a year after the Himalayan shrine was marred by flash floods that had left hundreds of people dead and many others stranded
- ^ "Delhi airport flooded, passengers wade through knee deep water". NDTV. 16 June 2013. Retrieved 22 June 2013.
- ^ "Yamuna swells, crosses danger mark". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 19 June 2013. Retrieved 22 June 2013.
- ^ "Drainage system collapses, heavy rains pour misery". Hindustan Times. 19 June 2013. Retrieved 22 June 2013.
- ^ "Uttar Pradesh flood situation worsens". DNA India. 11 July 2013. Retrieved 12 July 2013.
- ^ "Death toll in Himachal floods rises to 20". The Hindustan Times. 20 June 2013. Archived from the original on 30 September 2013. Retrieved 21 June 2013.
- ^ "1'000 plus rescued from India arrive home - Detail News : Nepal News Portal". The Himalayan Times. Retrieved 23 June 2013.
- ^ "Relief distribution to Darchula flood victims starts - Detail News : Nepal News Portal". The Himalayan Times. Archived from the original on 22 June 2013. Retrieved 23 June 2013.
- ^ "Minister says joint team will look into Mahakali floods - Detail News : Nepal News Portal". The Himalayan Times. Archived from the original on 26 September 2013. Retrieved 23 June 2013.
- ^ "Uttarakhand: Rescue efforts in full swing; 102 dead, 72000 stranded". IBN. 18 June 2013. Archived from the original on 20 June 2013. Retrieved 19 June 2013.
- ^ "Parties asks workers to assist in relief work in Uttarakhand". 19 June 2013. Retrieved 21 June 2013.
- ^ Upadhyay, Kavitha (18 June 2013). "57,000 pilgrims stranded in Uttarakhand". The Hindu. Chennai, India. Retrieved 18 June 2013.
- ^ Kumar, Vinay (20 June 2013). "Dhruv helicopters fly high in Uttarakhand". The Hindu. Chennai, India. Retrieved 22 June 2013.
- ^ "IAF deploys 13 more aircraft for Uttarakhand rescue ops". The Economic Times. 21 June 2013. Retrieved 22 June 2013.
- ^ "IAF 'OP Rahat' Update Upto 6 O' Clock". Government of India. 30 June 2013. Retrieved 19 September 2013.
- ^ "Will make sure job is done: Air Chief NAK Browne to NDTV". 26 June 2013. Retrieved 26 June 2013.
- ^ "Uttarakhand floods: Bodies of chopper crash victims recovered". Mid-day. 26 June 2013. Retrieved 26 June 2013.
- ^ "Bravehearts who died in Uttarakhand chopper crash given Guard of Honour". NDTV.com.
- ^ "Rs 1000 cr relief for flood hit Uttarakhand announced". Hindustan Times. 19 June 2013. Retrieved 19 June 2013.
- ^ "UP govt announces financial help to Uttarakhand". Lucknow: Zee News. 19 June 2013. Retrieved 19 June 2013.
- ^ "Haryana announces Rs. 10-crore help for Uttarakhand". Chandigarh: NDTV. 19 June 2013. Retrieved 20 June 2013.
- ^ "Chavan announces Rs. 10-crore aid". The Hindu. Mumbai. 20 June 2013. Retrieved 20 June 2013.
- ^ "TamilNadu donates Rs.5 Crore". TamilNadu: CNN-IBN. 23 June 2013. Archived from the original on 27 June 2013. Retrieved 23 June 2013.
- ^ "Odisha announces Rs 5 crore for Uttarakhand, 100 Odias trapped - Economic Times". indiatimes.com. 20 June 2013. Retrieved 27 June 2013.
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today announced a contribution of Rs 50 million for relief work in the flood hit mountain state.
- ^ Iyer, Shekhar (2013). "Modi sends Rs 3 cr more, renews offer to help in Uttarakhand - Hindustan Times". hindustantimes.com. Retrieved 27 June 2013.
Modi has again sent an offer and a cheque for Rs. 30 million, besides the Rs. 20 million his state already donated
- ^ a b "Kerala Floods: BJP leaders launch social media campaign against the state". Mumbai Mirror. Retrieved 26 August 2018.
- ^ a b "US Ambassador announces relief to flood victims in Uttarakhand". The Economic Times. 23 June 2013. Retrieved 24 June 2013.
- ^ "Kerala to give 2-cr aid to Uttarakhand flood relief fund | Thiruvananthapuram News - Times of India". The Times of India.
- ^ "Government cancels Kailash Manasarovar Yatra due to Uttarakhand disaster : North, News". India Today. 19 June 2013. Retrieved 19 June 2013.
- ^ "150 dead in Uttarakhand flood, toll may rise". The Hindustan Times. 19 June 2013. Retrieved 19 June 2013.
- ^ "India plans mass cremation for flood victims". Al Jazeera. 24 June 2013. Retrieved 24 June 2013.
- ^ "India to begin mass cremation of flood victims". Fox News. 24 June 2013. Retrieved 24 June 2013.
- ^ "Uttarakhand floods: When all else failed, youth took charge". Hindustan Times. 26 June 2013. Retrieved 26 June 2013.
- ^ "'Religious men' held with Rs 1 cr in stolen money". 24 June 2013. Retrieved 24 June 2013.
- ^ "Babas, priests and godmen looted over R 1 crore from devastated people, bank; rescuers recover cash, jewellery". 24 June 2013. Retrieved 24 June 2013.
- ^ "Uttarakhand horror: stranded pilgrims raped, murdered". 22 June 2013. Retrieved 24 June 2013.
- ^ Cho, Changrae; Li, Rong; S.-Y., Wang; Jin-Ho, Yoon; Robert R., Gillies (29 April 2015). "Anthropogenic footprint of climate change in the June 2013 northern India flood". Climate Dynamics. 46 (3–4): 797. Bibcode:2016ClDy...46..797C. doi:10.1007/s00382-015-2613-2. S2CID 129575971.
- ^ a b Shadbolt, Peter (25 June 2013). "Indian floods a man-made disaster, say environmentalists". CNN. Retrieved 26 June 2013.
- ^ "A Long Journey".
- ^ Pandey, Pawan Kumar. A Long Journey – via Amazon.
- ^ "KEDARNATH MOVIE REVIEW". Times of India. 7 December 2018.