TRIPURAINFO

Natural Disasters in Tripura


Tripura is frequently visited by natural disasters which play havoc on an already impoverished economy. Floods are a recurring calamity while earthquakes and droughts are not infrequent, all particularly affecting the vulnerable sections. Forest fires are another unrelenting disaster occurring across the forestlands of the State.

Floods:

750 km2 of land area of the State is considered to be flood prone . Nearly all the rivers are rain-fed and are prone to flood. During the past twenty years two massive floods occurred in 1999 and 2004 causing huge economic cost. The 1999 floods followed incessant rain that was almost double the normal rainfall and it was extremely heavy during 8-12 of July resulting in the floods.
The damage was particularly severe in South Tripura and West Tripura districts. Especially Gumti River had turned immensely destructive and the total damage caused by this flood was estimated at Rs 498.5 million.

Two episodes of devastating floods occurred in June/July and September 2004, following unprecedented rainfall. For example, while the usual average rainfall in North District during the month of July was 700.9 mm, in 2004 it was 2,102.8 mm; where as the usual average for South Tripura in the month of September is 298.4 mm, in 2004 it was as high as 1,491.8 mm.

 

Earthquakes:

Tripura and the rest of the northeastern region lie in the zone-V of the seismological map of India, which is regarded as a high-risk zone with respect to earthquakes.

According to the records of the Indian Meteorological Department, 41 earthquakes of 5.6 or lower magnitude have occurred within the coordinates 23.00-25.00ºN and 91.00-93.00ºE encompassing Tripura during the period 1970 to 2000.

Agartala was severely damaged by an earthquake of 8.7 magnitudes in the year 1897 when the royal palace was also fully destroyed. Earthquakes of high magnitude over the last 200 years in the region are listed below.
1. Earthquake of 10 January 1869 (Magnitude 7.5)
2. Sillong plateau earthquake of 12 June 1897 (8.7)
3. Srimangal earthquake of 1918 (7.6)
4. Dubri earthquake of 1930 (7.1)
5. Assam earthquake of 15 August 1950 (8.5)

Droughts:

Although drought is not a periodic calamity in the State, it does occur at times such as the dry spell of 1988-99. Caused by extremely low rainfall, the drought of December 1988- April 1999 had resulted in extensive damage to crops across the State.

The rainfall during this period was as low as 54.6mm while the usual average for the corresponding period is 286.6mm. Summer vegetables, paddy, sesamum, maize, etc were among the crops damaged.

The damage of Rs 1397.3 million caused by debilitating drought had seriously affected the State’s economy, the agricultural sector in particular. As in the case of floods West Tripura and South Tripura districts were the most severely affected.