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Geography - Natural Disasters in Tamil Nadu | 10th Social Science : Geography : Chapter 7 : Physical Geography of Tamil Nadu

Chapter: 10th Social Science : Geography : Chapter 7 : Physical Geography of Tamil Nadu

Natural Disasters in Tamil Nadu

A sudden natural catastrophe that causes great damage or loss to lives and properties is called as disaster.

Natural Disasters in Tamil Nadu

A sudden natural catastrophe that causes great damage or loss to lives and properties is called as disaster.

According to United Nations office for Disaster Risk Reduction, Disaster Risk Reduction( UNDRR) is the concept and practice of reducing disaster risks through systematic efforts to analyse and reduce the causal factors of disasters. This includes reducing exposure to hazards, lessening the vulnerability of people and property, wise management of land and environment, and improving preparedness and early warning for adverse events.

Here we will discuss about the natural disasters in Tamil Nadu and the measures to be adopted before, during and after different disasters.



A collapse of a mass of earth or rock from a mountain or cliff is called landslide. Water is the most common trigger of a landslide. Nilgiris in Tamil Nadu is identified as one of the most vulnerable districts in the country and landslides pose a major threat in this area. The other regions which are prone to land slides are Coimbatore and palani hill of Dindigul district where Kodaikanal hill station is located.

Risk Reduction Measures

Before: Create awareness; stay alert and awake; monitor the news updates; make evacuation plan; listen for any unusual sounds that might indicate moving debris such as trees cracking, boulders knocking and consider leaving the place of landslide if it is safe to do so.



After- Stay away from the slide area; listen to local radio or television stations for the latest emergency information; watch for flooding, which may occur after a landslide or debris flow; check for injured and trapped persons near the slide, without entering the direct slide area.



Flood is a common one in the coastal districts of Tamil Nadu during northeast monsoon. The recent flood occurred in the state was in 2015.

Risk Reduction Measures

Before: Know about relief centres and evacuation routes; keep emergency phone numbers and important information; fold and roll up things on to higher ground.

During: Be quick, keep safe and ensure that children and elderly are safe by leaving the house to a higher ground; turn off all electrical appliances and gas; leave the area before its get too late; do not drive through the water; stay away from power lines or broken power transmission cables and try to keep away from flood water.

After: Make sure to get back inside your house, keep all power and electrical appliances off before it is okay to put them on and wear appropriate dress before cleaning house which is necessary to clean the contamination.



The coastal regions of Tamil Nadu are often hit by the tropical cyclones formed in Bay of Bengal during northeast monsoon. Occurrence of flood, losses to lives and properties are the recurring one in the state. Based on the cyclone hit areas, the state of Tamil Nadu can be divided into five zones namely very high, high, medium, low and very low cyclone prone zones.

Risk Reduction Measures

Before: Ignore rumours, stay calm, don’t be panic; Keep your mobile phones charged to ensure connectivity; use sms; listen to radio; watch TV; read newspapers for weather updates. Keep your documents and valuables in water proof containers; prepare an emergency kits with essential items for survival; secure your house; carry out repairs; don’t leave sharp objects loose; untie cattle/animals for their safety. Fishermen should keep a radio set with extra batteries handy; keep boats and rafts tied up safely and don’t venture out in the sea.

During: Take care of the old and young, keep all family members inside the house; switch of all electrical appliances, stay in an empty room, movable items should be kept securely tied; try to help your neighbours but, don't go out during cyclone.

After: Those who shifted to the cyclone centre must remain there till instructions are received; strictly avoid loose electrical wires after the cyclone; beware of snakes and other animals immediately after the cyclone; clear debris and carcasses from/near the premise after the cyclone and report losses truthfully and accurately to the authorities.



Tamil Nadu is water deficit state. It is almost a regular one and not a seasonal one. It depends mostly on northeast monsoon for its rain. Its failure ends in disastrous.

To manage the water deficit, rain water harvesting and water conservation methods have to be implemented strictly.

Some methods of water conservation are:

Protection of water from pollution; redistribution of water; rational use of groundwater; population control; renovation of traditional water sources; use of modern irrigation methods; increasing forest cover; changing crop pattern; flood management and use of geothermal water are some of the major water conservation methods.


Fire Accident

Tamil Nadu is a tropical state. The high temperature during summer leads to occasional forest fire in deciduous and thorn forests.

Risk Reduction Measures

Before: Create defensible space to separate your home from flammable vegetation and materials (30 feet); follow all local fire and building codes; keep all trees and shrubs trimmed. Use approved fire resistant materials; make evacuation plans with family members which include several options with an outside meeting place.

During: Listen to radio; watch tv; read newspapers for updates; if adequate water are available fill buckets with water. turn a light on a room in case of smoke; turn off gas and electrical appliances and be ready to evacuate all family members.

After: Check with fire officials before attempting to return to your home; use caution when re-entering a burned area - flare ups can occur; check grounds for hot spots and check the roof and exterior areas for sparks and embers.



Though Tsunami is not a common one in India, its incident in 2004 alerted India and the state of Tamil Nadu on this aspect.

Risk Reduction Measures

Before: if you live in a coastal area, know about tsunami risk and local warning arrangements; develop household emergency plan; know where the nearest high ground is and how you will reach it.

During: Take your get away kit, don’t travel areas at risk; move immediately nearest high ground; if you can’t escape tsunami, go to an upper storey of the building or climb onto a roof or tree or grab a floating objects; never go to the shore to watch tsunami and listen to local radio stations as emergency management.

After: Continue to listen to the radio; don’t return to the evacuation zone until authorities have given all clear; check yourself for injuries and get first aid and help others.



India is a vast country which experiences many earthquakes at different periods. Generally high risk zones of the country are located in the north and central parts. The state of Tamil Nadu is located in the moderately low risk zone.

Risk Reduction Measures

During: Take cover under a strong table or any other piece of furniture and remain under cover until the shaking stops.

After: Proceed cautiously once the earthquake has stopped and always avoid roads, bridges that might have been damaged by the earthquake.

For the management of disasters in the state, the following forces and organizations are in service.

State/Union Territories organizations

1. State Disaster Management Authority  (Chairman-Chief Minister)

2. Relief/ Disaster Management Department 

3. Police 

4. Forest Department 

5. Fire and Civil Defence Services 

6. Health Services 

7. Transport Department 

8. Public Works Department 

9. Veterinary Services 

10. Food & Civil Supplied Department. 

District Organizations 

1. District Magistrate (Chairman-District Collector)

2. Revenue Department

3. Civil Administration, 

4. Local Police, 

5. Civil Defence, 

6. Fire & Emergency Services, 

7. Home Guards (also Local Community, Non-Governmental Organisations, Voluntary Agencies) etc.

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