Uttarakhand, India

Assessing biophysical and social vulnerability to natural hazards in Uttarakhand India

6,000 people died in a flash flood in Uttarakhand India in 2013 when the disaster coincided with the height of the tourism season. The landscape was reshaped but a year later the state government still lacked updated flood risk maps. Typical flood models can costs millions of dollars and take years to calibrate and validate as in this case. These barriers can prohibit development and live saving disaster risk reduction in a timely manner, especially considering that new assessments are required each time a new major event comes through the area.

So the World Bank came to Cloud to Street to provide the government with a rapid risk assessment for floods, landslides and social factors. Cloud to Street quickly leveraged i its platform to reveal that 3,000 km2 of the the state is a floodplain and 900,000 people in the state are exposed to flooding. Combining our social and physical outputs, we estimate that 19% of the flood exposed population, or about 170,200 people, are at high risk overall. Results highlight four sub-districts that have very high biophysical and social vulnerabilities and are located in Dehradun, Haridwar, Tehri Garhwal, and Bageshwar districts. Also, that sub-districts with very high vulnerabilities have 45.57% lower population count and 2.57% lower GDP compared to those with very low vulnerabilities.

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Population Served

900,000 vulnerable identified