Though the human race has made phenomenal progress in every walk of life, nature has always shown its supremacy in one way or the other. On many occasions, when he has failed to pay heed to the powers of nature, it has struck with a natural calamity to shock mankind as a whole. India, in its history, has come across scores of natural disasters and catastrophes, which have taken huge toll of life and property.
Different Types of Natural Disasters
There are many different types of natural disasters that can occur around the world. Some of the most common ones include:
Earthquakes – the shaking of the earth’s surface caused by the sudden movement of tectonic plates.
Volcanic Eruptions – the release of molten rock, ash, and gas from a volcano.
Hurricanes/Cyclones/Typhoons – intense tropical storms that bring strong winds, heavy rain, and flooding.
Tornadoes – a violently rotating column of air that is in contact with both the surface of the earth and a cumulonimbus cloud.
Floods – an overflow of water onto normally dry land, which can be caused by heavy rainfall, melting snow or ice, or the failure of a dam or levee.
Landslides – the movement of rock, earth, or debris down a slope or cliff.
Tsunamis – large ocean waves caused by underwater earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, or landslides.
Drought – a prolonged period of abnormally low rainfall leading to a shortage of water resources.
Wildfires – unplanned fires that occur in areas with combustible vegetation.
Extreme temperatures – heat waves, cold waves, or extreme weather conditions can cause health problems and damage to infrastructure.
These natural disasters can have devastating effects on the environment, infrastructure, and human lives. It is important to be prepared and have emergency plans in place to mitigate the impacts of these events.
List of Top Natural Disasters in India of All Time
10. Kashmir Floods (2014)
One of the most recent natural disasters to have affected India is the massive flood which affected Jammu &Kashmir in September, 2014. The heavy and continuous rains lashed the city of Srinagar and caused disastrous floods, which claimed thousands of lives and had people trapped in their homes for days, without food and water.
9. Calcutta Cyclone (1737)
The next natural disaster included in this list is the powerful cyclone which affected Calcutta in 1737. The disaster killed thousands of people and destroyed a large number of vessels docked on the harbor.
8. Uttarakhand Flash Floods (2013)
Another catastrophic natural disaster to have hit the country was the flash floods in River Ganga in 2013. Heavy and sudden rains in the region caused destructive landslides in Uttrakhan, which took toll of thousands of lives, most of them being pilgrims of Badrinath and Kedarnath, while thousands were reported missing.
7. Latur Earthquake (1993)
Another devastating natural disaster in India of all time is the Latur Earthquake, which hit Latur in Maharashtra on September 30, 1993. The earthquake which killed nearly 20000 and left 30000 injured, measured 6.4 on the Richter scale. It also caused huge damage to property, reducing thousands of buildings to rubble.
6. Coringa Cyclone (1839)
Featuring next on the list of top 10 worst natural disasters to have affected India ever is the destructive Coringa Cyclone, which overtook the harbor city of Coringa in Andhra Pradesh. Nearly 3.2 lakh people were killed and 25000 vessels were destroyed by the massive cyclone.
5. The Third Plague Pandemic
The Third Plague Pandemic, which surfaced in the late 19th century began in China and later spread to other neighboring countries including India, where it reached through the ports of Bombay and Kolkata. Nearly a crore of people were killed due to this massive natural disaster.
4. Gujarat Earthquake (2001)
A massive earthquake of intensity 7.9 on Richter Scale rocked Gujarat on the fateful morning of 26th January, 2001, when the whole country was celebrating Republic Day. Nearly 20000 people lost their lives and thousands were left injured and homeless in this great natural calamity.
3. The Great Famine of 1876-1878
A major famine affected Southern and South Western parts of the country and took toll of nearly 3 crore people, affecting millions more, in a period of two years between 1876 and 1878. It is considered as one of the worst natural disasters in India of all time.
2. The Indian Ocean Tsunami (2004)
Another one of the worst natural disasters in India of all time is the huge tsunami which rose in the Indian Ocean following a major earthquake which had its epicenter in the ocean bed. It occurred on 24th December, 2004 when people were celebrating Christmas on the beaches of South India. The tsunami caused immense loss of life and property in India, Sri Lanka, Andaman Nicobar and Indonesia.
1. Bengal Famine (1770)
The massive famine which hit the pre-independence state of Bengal was one of the greatest natural disasters to have hit India ever. As many as 1 crore people died due to hunger, thirst and disease in this massive catastrophe, which extended from 1769-1773.
Odisha Cyclone (1999), Mumbai Floods (2005), Bihar Floods (2007) and the Bengal Famine (1943) are some other major natural disasters to have affected India.