Disaster Management : Case Studies

Chernobyl Accident 1986

Type : Nuclear Accident

Place & Time : On 26 April 1986 at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine

Reason : Result of a flawed reactor design that was operated with inadequately trained personnel.

Impact :

  • The resulting steam explosion and fires released at least 5% of the radioactive reactor core into the atmosphere and downwind – some 5200 PBq (I-131 eq).
  • Two Chernobyl plant workers died on the night of the accident, and a further 28 people died within a few weeks as a result of acute radiation poisoning.
  • UNSCEAR says that apart from increased thyroid cancers, “there is no evidence of a major public health impact attributable to radiation exposure 20 years after the accident.”

Relief & Rehabilitation :

  • Resettlement of areas from which people were relocated is ongoing. In 2011 Chernobyl was officially declared a tourist attraction.

Bhopal Gas Tragedy 1984

Type : Industrial disaster, a (methyl isocyanate) gas leak incident

Place & Time : 2–3 December 1984 at the Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) pesticide plant in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh

Reason : The reason of the disaster remains under debate. It is believed that routine pipe maintenance caused a backflow of water into a MIC tank triggering the disaster.

Impact : The government of Madhya Pradesh confirmed a total of 3,787 deaths related to the gas release.

Relief & Rehabiliation :

  • Health care – hospital-based services for gas victims
  • Habitation and economic rehabilitation with construction of new houses and employment opportunities.

For more details, read wiki.

Kutch Earthquake, 2001

Type : Natural Disaster – Earthquake

Place & Time : Occurred on 26 January, India’s 52nd Republic Day (2001)

Reason :

  • Plate boundary movement between the Indian Plate and the Eurasian Plate.
  • During the collision with Eurasia the Kutch area has undergone shortening, involving both reactivation of the original rift faults and development of new low-angle thrust faults.
  • The related folding has formed a series of ranges, particularly in central Kutch.

Impact :

  • Killed around 20,000 people (including 18 in South eastern Pakistan), injured another 167,000 and destroyed nearly 400,000 homes.
  • In Kutch, the earthquake destroyed about 60% of food and water supplies and around 258,000 houses – 90% of the district’s housing stock.

Relief & Rehabilitation :

  • The Government prepared Gujarat Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Policy.

Indian Tsunami, 2004

Type : Natural Disaster, Ocean Earthquake (of the 9.0 magnitude quake)

Place & Time : On 26 December, 2004 in Indian Ocean, States of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu in India.

Reason : Caused when the Indian Plate was subducted by the Burma Plate and triggered a series of devastating tsunamis along the coasts of most landmasses bordering the Indian Ocean.

Impact :  Killed 230,000 people in 14 countries, including estimated 18,000+ death in India.

Relief & Rehabilitation : Great example of linking relief to development, healtcare services, construction of roads, homes and shoreline tree plantation.

Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, 2011

Type : Nuclear Disaster

Place & Time : Began on 11-12 March 2011 at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant

Reason : Nuclear plant was hit by a tsunami resulting in release of substantial amounts of radioactive material.

Impact : Although no fatalities due to short-term radiation exposure were reported, some 300,000 people evacuated the area. Induced healt impact due to exposure to radiation.

Relief & Rehabilitation : Early evacuation and health programmes.

Uttarakhand flash flood 2013

Type :

Place & Time : on 16-17 June 2013, affected 12 out of the 13 districts in Uttarakhand.

Reason : Triggered by very heavy rainfall and cloudburst followed by massive landslide.

Impact : Over a lakh of people trapped in floods and more than thousand got killed, apart from huge infrastructure damage.

Relief & Rehabilitation : Combined efforts of armed forces, governmental and non-governmental agencies played key role in relief and rehabilitation.


Allahabad Kumbh Mela stampede, 2013

Type : Stampede

Place & Time : On 10 February 2013 in Allahabad.

Reason : Stampede broke out after a railing on a footbridge collapsed at the Allahabad railway station. Poor management and heavy crowd at the time of incident (30 million people) led to hugs losses.

Impact : Resulted in killing 36 people and injuring at least 39.

Relief & Rehabilitation : As a commonly followed practice, CM of UP constituted a committee to probe the stampede (Of course with no outcome!).

Jammu and Kashmir Floods, 2014

Type : Natural Disaster, Floods.

Place & Time : September, 2014

Reason : Heavy monsoon rain and flash floods

Impact : Killed over 400 and rendered hundreds of thousand homeless

Relief & Rehabilitation :

  • The Armed Forces humanitarian assistance mission in response to the floods was named Mission Sahayata (assistance).
  • Northern Command’s humanitarian assistance to Civil authorities was named ‘Operation MEGH RAHAT’.
  • “Operation Sadbhavna” for relief and medical assistance
  • Social Media played important role in rescue operation, apart from Google’s ‘Person Finder’ service.