Nearly 3,000 people are still stranded by the monsoon floods in India’s Uttarakhand state, while more than 800 have been killed. The rains are believed to be the heaviest in 80 years, and have swept away entire villages, while 100,000 people have had to be rescued.
Now there are claims that this has been a man-made and not a natural disaster. Critics maintain that the root of the problem is the unchecked building of roads, hotels, blocks of flats, and hydroelectric dams.
This has made the floodwaters more deadly as they have become laden with thousands of tons of silt, boulders and debris, while the escape routes they took in the past down streams and ravines have been blocked.
It is said that the Uttarakhand Disaster Management Authority, formed in October 2007, has never actually met, and that that there were no emergency evacuation plans. Similarly, modestly priced radar-based technology that could have forecast cloudbursts was never installed.