The majestic Himalayan chain, the youngest on earth and seismically the most active, is vulnerable to catastrophic disasters for past many centuries.
The recent flash-flood devastation in India’s two Himalayan states, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh, is not something new, as the country has witnessed many such devastation earlier. The entire mountain area is prone to cloudburst, heavy rainfall, flash-flood, and earthquake—thus claiming countless lives till date.
Rapid climate change is further affecting the region: less snow and heavy rainfall in the Himalayan zone often lead to flash-floods or cloudbursts; while frequent landslides during rainy season worsen the situation in areas where the mountain slopes are unstable due to the lack of good vegetation.
Many earth scientists have categorized the entire 2400 km long Himalayan arc from east to west into different segments of approximately 200-400 km, which periodically move and break causing catastrophic disasters.
To name one, the “Great Kashmir Earthquake of 2005” that killed over 87,000 people (about 86,000 people in the Pakistan side and 1,350 in the Indian side of Kashmir), injured at least 100,000 people, ruined tens of thousands of houses and buildings, and made some three million people homeless—is believed to be the most deadly Himalayan calamity ever.