Natural disasters left many dead and homeless in India in 2013 but there was a lesson to be learnt after the government averted a major crisis when tropical storm Phailin hit the country’s eastern shores in October. The government had issued warnings days in advance and evacuated thousands to reduce the number of casualties. Contrary to this, floods in the mountainous state of Uttarakhand in northern India killed hundreds of people in June. Relatives of those dead or stranded in the state were left in despair due to a lack of coordination in rescue efforts. Many of those who died were tourists travelling to the state for pilgrimage. Newspapers blamed rampant construction, mining and massive power projects in the northern Himalayan states for the flooding and termed it a man-made disaster.

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