On the weekend, Leonie meets Sunita, a friend of her host mother who works for an NGO that helps people affected by natural disasters.


Hi Leonie, it´s so nice to meet you. I heard that you are interested in my work. First of all, I´d like to explain to you the different kinds of natural disasters we have here in India.


Monsoons are heavy rains that cause flooding and landslides. When the seasons change between June and September, warm and moist air is crossing the Indian Ocean leading to heavy rain.  Whole towns are cut off, railway services are disrupted, many citizens lose their homes and thousands die. Due to climate change, there are more unpredictable monsoons and they become more severe.

Earthquakes are common in India because of the continued subduction of the Indian peninsula against the Eurasian Plate.  Especially along the Himalayas in northern India there are many active fault zones causing tremors and landslides.

The season of tropical storms and cyclones depends on the region. On the east coast, the season is from September to June and in South India, cyclones are likely between June and November. The Bay of Bengal is affected from April to June and again from September to December. Cyclones cause heavy rainfalls and floods. High winds destroy infrastructure such as power and telephone lines. On the coast, there is a high risk for flooding as the sea level rises.

In this video you can see footage of floods in India in 2020.


And how do these disasters affect daily life?


Some natural disasters come all of a sudden and so some people wake up in the morning and their house is washing away. Due to climate change, monsoons come more often and some people had to rebuild their house three times in the last two years.


Approximately, 35% of India´s citizens, this means around 472 million people, are exposed to the danger of floods. The natural disasters primarily affect the poor, who live in unstable houses in regions without firm ground. Their homes can´t endure heavy rains and storms and therefore collapse quickly. After such an event, the affected areas lack food and the residents are in danger of catching water-borne diseases. Most can´t afford moving away to a safer place. They don´t see another alternative than rebuilding their home in the same place again and risk damage caused by floods again.