Disaster Profile
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The Indian subcontinent is among the world's most disaster prone areas. Almost 85% of India’s area is vulnerable to one or multiple hazard. Of the 28 states and 7 union territories, 22 are disaster-prone. It is vulnerable to wind storms spawned in the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea, earthquakes caused by active crustal movement in the Himalayan mountains, floods brought by monsoons, and droughts in the country's arid and semi-arid areas. Almost 57% of the land is vulnerable to earthquake (high seismic zones III–V), 68% to drought, 8% to cyclones and 12% to floods. India has also become much more vulnerable to tsunamis since the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.

Of the earthquake-prone areas, 12% is prone to very severe earthquakes,18% to severe earthquakes and 25% to damageable earthquakes. The biggest quakes occur in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Kutch, Himachal and the North-East. The Himalayan regions are particularly prone to earthquakes.. The last two major earthquakes shook Gujarat in January 2001 and Jammu and Kashmir in October 2005. Many smaller-scale quakes occurred in other parts of India in 2006. All 7 North East states of India - Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura and Megalaya; Andaman & Nicobar Islands; and parts of 6 other states in the North/North-West (Jammu and Kashmir, Uttaranchal, Bihar) and West (Gujarat), are in Seismic Zone V.

About 30 million people are affected annually. Floods in the Indo–Gangetic–Brahmaputra plains are an annual feature. On an average, a few hundred lives are lost, millions are rendered homeless and several hectares of crops are damaged every year. Nearly 75% of the total rainfall occurs over a short monsoon season (June – September). 40 million hectares, or 12% of Indian land, is considered prone to floods. Floods are a perennial phenomenon in at least 5 states - Assam, Bihar, Orissa , Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. On account of climate change, floods have also occurred in recent years in areas that are normally not flood prone. In 2006, drought prone parts of Rajasthan experienced floods.

About 50 million people are affected annually by drought. Of approximately 90 million hectares of rain-fed areas, about 40 million hectares are prone to scanty or no rain. Rainfall is poor in nine meteorological subdivisions out of 36 subdivision (each meteorological sub division covers a geographic area of more than ten revenue districts in India). In India annually 33% area receive rainfall less than 750 mm (low rainfall area) and 35 % area receive between 750 to 1125 mm rainfall Medium rainfall) and only 32percent falls in the high rainfall (>1126 mm) zone.

About 8% of the land is vulnerable to cyclones of which coastal areas experience two or three tropical cyclones of varying intensity each year. Cyclonic activities on the east coast are more severe than on the west coast. The Indian continent is considered to be the worst cyclone-affected part of the world, as a result of low-depth ocean bed topography and coastal configuration. The principal threat from a cyclone are in the form of gales and strong winds; torrential rain and high tidal waves/storm surges. Most casualties are caused due to coastal inundation by tidal waves and storm surges. Cyclones typically strike the East Coast of India, along the Bay of Bengal, ie. the states of West Bengal, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, but also parts of Maharashtra and Gujarat at the Arabian Sea West Coast.

Landslides occur in the hilly regions such as the Himalayas, North-East India, the Nilgiris, and Eastern and Western Ghats. Landslides in India are another recurrent phenomenon. Landslide-prone areas largely correspond to earthquake-prone areas, i.e. North-west and North-East, where the incidence of landslides is the highest.

Drought is another recurrent phenomenon which results in widespread adverse impact on vulnerable people’s livelihoods and young children’s nutrition status. It typically strikes arid areas of Rajasthan (chronically) and Gujarat states. Drought is not uncommon in certain districts of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, etc. Although a slow onset emergency, and to an extent predictable emergency, drought has caused severe suffering in the affected areas in recent years, including effects on poverty, hunger, and unemployment.

Cold waves:
Cold waves are recurrent phenomenon in North India. Hundreds if not thousands of people die of cold and related diseases every year, most of them from poor urban areas in northern parts of the country.

According to India’s Tenth Five Year Plan, natural disasters have affected nearly 6% of the population and 24% of deaths in Asia caused by disasters have occurred in India. Between 1996 and 2001, 2% of national GDP was lost because of natural disasters, and nearly 12% of Government revenue was spent on relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction during the same period. As per a World Bank study in 2003, natural disasters pose a major impediment on the path of economic development in India

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