Remembering the Devastation: Uttarakhand Disaster

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In June 2013, lakhs of people were affected by one of the most disastrous floods in Uttarakhand

While the relief efforts to rebuild Uttarakhand continue to take place, we need your support to reach out to more people in need and help build resilient communities in Uttarakhand.

What happened in 2013?

The flash floods that hit Uttarakhand in June 2013, were one of the worst disasters that the state ever witnessed in the past 33 years.

  • Over 300 villages were washed away and more than a million people were directly and indirectly affected and close to 10,000 people died.
  • 110,000 people (mostly pilgrims) who were trapped in the mountains were evacuated by army, air force and NDRF
  • Post the disaster 100’s of villages were inaccessible for almost 2 months
  • Tourism sector which contributes to close to 35-30% of the state’s GDP alone faced a loss of more than 10,000 Crore!
The Situation

Uttarakhand is located in a climate sensitive region and its inhabitants face an immediate threat from the ever increasing impact of climate change. Landslides, soil erosion, heavy rainfall, drying rivers, melting glaciers and degraded ecosystem continue to directly affect livelihoods. Industrialization in the Southern Plains districts had been the engine of economic development. It had generated wealth in Uttarakhand, but the development was neither equitable nor sustainable and hill districts did not reap any benefits of this development.

The 2013 Uttarakhand Disaster has now worsened the situation causing a major setback to the growth prospects of the region. Implementation of climate change adaptation and mitigation measures is an urgent need. A new report Uttarakhand: Development and Ecological Sustainability by Environmentalist Ravi Chopra says the devastation on June 15-17 2013 was magnified many times over by heavy construction and the model of infrastructure-led development in the hill state.

What Oxfam is doing?

Oxfam India continues to work in Uttarakhand and was one of the first relief organisations to reach the state in the aftermath of the floods. We reached out to more than 8000 households with the following assistance:

  • 7980 households (approximately 36,000 individuals) were reached with emergency shelter materials like blankets; 4055 households with tarpaulins, ground sheet and hygiene kits; and 3582 with solar lamps
  • 1331 households were supported with food aid during the critical period immediately after the disaster. This includes food aid that was distributed via Air Force helicopters during the period when most of the villages were still inaccessible.
  • Oxfam implemented Emergency Food Security & Vulnerable Livelihood (EFVSL) interventions including Cash for Work for 980 households, and 563 Unconditional Cash Transfers. More than 50% of the beneficiaries in these interventions were women
  • Transitional shelter assistance to 225 households
  • Oxfam partnered with JVS and HPSS- two local NGOs; to respond to the crisis in the two worst affected districts of Rudraprayag and Uttarkashi.

Apart from immediate relief and aid we initiated a long-term disaster relief response. The measures taken up were as follows:

  • Started a sustainable system of rice intensification
  • The same principles were applied to wheat
  • Used low cost technology to convert organic waste into compost
  • Introduced fodder plantation
  • Low cost Poly Houses and Water Harvesting Tanks were built
  • Over 700 farmers received farm inputs, seeds, vermin under RKVY (Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana) scheme
Oxfam in the Region

We have a dedicated team that works across Uttarakhand. We focus on sustainable agriculture, livelihoods, women's land rights and emergency response combined with climate-sensitive programming, policy and advocacy work.

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