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Disasters : Background & Perspective

By Vinod C Menon and Shirish Kavad

India is the worst-affected theatre of disaster in the South Asian region. Drought, floods, earthquakes and cyclones devastate the country with grim regularity. More than 11,000 lives were lost in the December 2004 tsunami, 10,000 were killed in the Orissa supercyclone of 1999, and 16,000 died in the earthquake that hit Kutch in January 2001. Are these natural disasters caused by nature's fury? Or are they man-made in large measure? Is the country equipped to manage the disasters that affect 25 million people every year?