As Chennai reels under the recent rainfall, government data on natural disasters shows that Tamil Nadu has had it particularly bad this year. Even before the latest spate of rains, Tamil Nadu saw a 125 per cent rise in loss of lives in 2015-16 as compared to last year. It also saw a 25-fold rise in loss of property. If the latest toll is added, the cumulative rise in casualties would work out to close to 260 per cent.
According to the latest home ministry data on damage to life and property due to natural calamities like rainfall, cyclonic storms, earthquakes and landslides, till November 24 this year, Tamil Nadu saw 169 deaths while over one lakh houses were destroyed — up from 75 and 3,750 respectively in 2014-15. When compared to 2012-13, the current year gives a picture of fast declining climatic conditions in the peninsular state. In 2012-13, the state saw only 15 deaths while nearly 5,000 houses were destroyed.
The wrath of nature, however, has been more severe on the eastern coast, with West Bengal suffering the worst natural disasters. The state saw 169 deaths in 2014-15. The figure increased to 193 in 2015-16 (till November 24). Similarly, over 3,300 houses were destroyed in 2014-15, which increased to a whopping 8.23 lakh in 2015-16.
West Bengal and Tamil Nadu together account for almost 30 per cent of all deaths and 75 per cent of houses destroyed in the country due to natural calamities.
In fact, 2015-16 has witnessed largescale property damage across the country. Over 12.30 lakh houses were destroyed as compared to 7.3 lakh in 2014-15. The fact that loss of cattle saw a decline and damage to crops a marginal increase indicates that urban areas saw more damage, said a ministry source.