Tragedy Of Kedarnath Essay Help

Case Study Of The Uttarakhand Disaster

CASE STUDY OF UTTARAKHAND DISASTER

The State of Uttarakhand is vastly covered by high Himalayan Mountains comprising the Himadri and Shivalik ranges. The existence of such mountainous terrain in the state makes it prone to many natural disasters such as Landslides & Floods. Also, the fact that the entire area of Uttarakhand is categorized as Seismic Zone IV which makes it prone to major Earthquakes. Several major and minors rivers originate in the hills of Uttarakhand. Two major rivers, i.e. Ganga & Yamuna have their sources in the upper reaches of Gangotri and Yamunotri glaciers respectively.

The flood disaster of 2013 is attributed to continuous heavy rainfall in the state from 15th June, 2013 to 17th June, 2013. Many regions in the state such as Kedarnath, Rudraprayag and Gaurikund etc. experienced up to 300% more than average rainfall. These heavy rainfalls resulted from the collective devastation of both torrential monsoon rains as well as Westerly disturbances. These rains reaped havoc throughout the state, especially in the hilly regions. Most devastation was caused in Rudraprayag, Bageshwar, Uttarkashi, Pithoragarh and Chamoli districts of the State.

The flooding of Mandakini River, that caused major destruction to the town of Kedarnath and Rambara, occurred following two separate events.

The first event took place on 16th June 2013 when excess discharge in Mandakini River brought down huge boulders and debris, as its course was narrowed down by these rocks and dumping of excavated material. The flood and the debris it brought along caused massive destruction in Rambara and Gaurikund.

The second event took place the next day on 17th June, 2013 when a moraine barrage was washed away by the surplus water accumulated in Chorabari Tal. Chorabari Lake is a rain and glacier fed lake located about 1.5 km upstream of Kedarnath....

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An aerial view of Kedarnath which was destroyed by the floods.

Radha Mohan Soni and his friends and family members were in great spirit after offering their tributes to Lord Shiva at Kedarnath shrine, early morning on 16 June. They were a big group, consisting of thirty members who had come for pilgrimage from village Maholi (district: Karoli) in Rajasthan.

Radha Mohan Soni and his friends and family members were in great spirit after offering their tributes to Lord Shiva at Kedarnath shrine, early morning on 16 June. They were a big group, consisting of thirty members who had come for pilgrimage from village Maholi (district: Karoli) in Rajasthan.

Most of the members were moving around the lodge where they had spent their night, after a tough 14 km trek to the famous Hindu temple located in district Rurarprayag.

At about 6.30 am, Radha Mohan suddenly heard some women shouting 'run, run, save yourself.' Besides the warning, Soni also heard loud and strange sounds of rumbling. Radha Mohan and others entered their lodge and asking others to do the same, they climbed the stairs to reach the third floor. Within seconds they saw a massive mudslide sparked by a cloudburst causing mass destruction.

The mudslide damaged all the buildings located on both sides of the Kedarnath shrine. Even the two floors of the lodge (Bharatpur House), where the pilgrims from Rajasthan had taken shelter was destroyed in the disaster which lasted a few minutes. They could still feel the shake in the building and hear the heart rendering cries of the women.

Recalling the incident Radha Mohan says, "We were air lifted from Kedarnath on third day. We saw dead bodies lying here and there. Just one room of the lodge survived the furious  attack by nature. There were few options left and to save ourselves from extremely cold conditions during the night about forty survivors shared the lone surviving room. As there was little space so we spent the entire night standing. During the day we went to some high places in the hope of getting food packets. Unfortunately the food packets arrived on the third day evening."

The stranded pilgrims spent three days without food. They collected rainwater and used to distribute the precious water through bottle caps. Each individual used to get one cap full water twice daily.

No army, police and communication system prevailed in Kedarnath. The pilgrims had to suffer and they even lost hope of returning home alive. When Jodhpur based Ishwar Singh landed in Dehradun, after being air lifted from Guptkashi (near Kedarnath), the first thing they did was make a phone call at his home informing them they are alive. A thrilled Ishwar Singh said, "When I told them we are alive, my family members were overjoyed."

Though Ishwar and his other team members were airlifted from Kedarnath to Guptkashi on Wednesday but electricity is yet to be restored in the rain affected area. The survivors had to wait till Wednesday for making phone calls to their friends and family.

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