6,808 deaths due to hydro meteorological calamities in 3 years: Centre

16th Aug,2021

6,808 deaths due to hydro meteorological  calamities in 3 years: Centre

About 6,800 people lost their lives in the country over the past three years due to hydro meteorological calamities such as flash floods, landslides and cyclones and West Bengal has recorded the highest number of deaths among all States,

The details were provided by the Union Home Ministry in response to a question by Congress MP from Tamil Nadu, Su. Thirunavukkarasar, earlier this month in the Lok Sabha.

As per the reports, the country recorded 6,808 deaths (2,400 in 2018-19, 2,422 in 2019-20 and 1,986 in 2020-21). West Bengal recorded highest i.e, 964 deaths (383 in 2018-19, 227 in 2019-20 and 354 in 2020-21), which amounts to 14% of deaths due to hydro meteorological calamities.

According to the Home Ministry, hydro meteorological calamities/ hazards include flash floods, cloudburst and landslides. During the monsoon season (April-October mainly; in Western Ghat terrains from April to December, including the phase of the northeast monsoon), incidents occur in almost all landslide-prone regions, some of which are disastrous, leading to loss of lives, the reply pointed out.

- Extreme events

“In most cases, these are the most triggered by extreme rainfall events or cloudbursts. These types of fatal landslide events are very much common almost every year, mainly in the Himalayan States, in the Western Ghats, and Konkan areas,” the statement tabled in the Lok Sabha mentioned.

Other than West Bengal, MP recorded 833 deaths, followed by Kerala 708 in the same period. In both the States, the rise in the casualties has been caused by floods. For example, Kerala recorded 455 deaths in 2018-19 due to 2018 floods. Madhya Pradesh recorded total of 674 deaths in 2019-20 caused by floods.

- Geographical reason

“What the statistics tell us about West Bengal is that for the three consecutive years the deaths due to natural calamities are high. The reason could be the geography of the State where there are both mountains and coastline areas. The State is prone to both landslides, cyclones and floods,” said Tuhin Ghosh, The Director of the School of Oceanography, Jadavpur University.

- Funds allocation

In terms of funds released by the Centre under State Disaster Response Funds, highest funds were allocated to Maharashtra, ₹1,288.80 cr, followed by Uttar Pradesh ₹773.20 cr and MP ₹728 cr. For West Bengal, the funds released by the Centre under State Disaster Response Funds was ₹404.40 cr.

Experts also point that over the past three years, West Bengal had tackled four tropical cyclones that are, Fani (May 2019), Bulbul (November 2019), Amphan (May 2020) and Yaas (May 2021).

In response to another question in the Lok Sabha, the Home Ministry’s response suggests that the damage caused by cyclone Yaas, which made a landfall in north Odisha in May 2021, was more to West Bengal than in Odisha. While in Odisha about 18,094 huts and houses were destroyed or damaged, the number in West Bengal was about three lakh. In WB, crops were severely affected over 1,70,891 hectares and in Odisha, 5,672.99 hectares were hit.