Disasters and development have been part of human experience ever since people started living in stable communities (Bas Van Bavel, 2020). Disaster and development as two contrasting events are undoubtedly related to each other. According to various UNDP reports (UNDP, 2011), disasters and development can either increase or decreases vulnerabilities. Disaster and development events provide opportunities as well as occasional setbacks resulting in physical social and economic impacts (Manyena, 2012). Majority of these events have influenced the people from the very early times (Collins, 2018). Development of ancient civilizations along the major rivers, invention of fire, industrial revolution, and urbanization faced the havoc of disasters like floods, famines, earthquakes, cyclone, tsunamis, plague etc. This led to the development and destabilizing of great civilizations including the Mayons, the Norse, the Old Egyptian Empire, etc (Coppola, 2015).
The development scenario also gets influenced by geo physical and anthropogenic activities which are undergoing an accelerated change thereby increasing the associated risks (Kulatunga, 2010). Uncertainty in daily risks challenges us from various hazard events (Hariri-Ardebili, 2020). It’s thus important to incorporate new management strategies to deal with the new emerging challenges in a more effective way (Sawalha, 2020). Hazards like geophysical, meteorological climatological biological, technological, keep on affecting people at an unprecedented scale (Hariri-Ardebili, 2020), (Joel C. Gill, 2014), (Hungsoo Kim, 2013), (Iuliana Armas¸Dragos Toma-Danila, 2017), (Markus Eckerstorfer, 2015), which in response, individuals and societies made various attempts to reduce loss of life, property and environment damage through innovation and adaptation (Bas Van Bavel, 2020). A similar scenario can be seen from the present times like as the wars, famines, floods, and catastrophic events like as 2004 Indian ocean tsunami, 2005 Kashmir earthquake, 2008 cyclone Nargis, 2010 Haiti Earthquake, 2011 Japan earthquake, 2015 Nepal Earthquake followed by formulation of national and international disaster responses (Coppola, 2015).
Understanding the importance of disaster and development studies, many researchers have tried to examine the linkages between the two (Fordham M., 2009), (Kapuca, 2014). Various studies have been carried out to include natural, anthropogenic, technological hazards and to study the Influence of geophysical environment on these hazards and their interaction (Baoyin Liu, 2016), (Joel C. Gill, 2014), (Joel C. Gill, 2016). E.g., Earthquake induced secondary hazards like landslides resulting in dammed lakes triggering tertiary hazards (HAN Jinliang, 2007). Most of hazards when treated individually don’t focus on domino, cascade or compound effects like in multi- hazard analysis as evident from various studies (Valentina Gallina, 2015). In developing countries, occurrence of multiple disasters characterized by high rates of poverty, illiteracy, social exclusion and environmental degradation is very common (Barrantes, 2018). The movement towards greater economic development leads to the increase in use of natural resources. The application of new technologies agricultural, construction and transport sectors is greatly endangering air, water and land quality. Similarly, the rapid growth of tourism and pressure exerted by tourist movement on the environment has an impact on a global level (Alberta Tahira, 2020).
In recent years, disasters and development has become a major focus in developed and developing countries (Naim kapucu, 2014). In recent times addressing the challenges of everyday human life, reducing disaster risk, and achieving more sustainable development presents a common agenda(Fordham M., 2007). Thus, multi oriented study focuses on multiple risks that form the basis for risk reduction and sustainable development in a region (Melanie Kappes & Glade, 2010). These studies address the various stages of disaster management i.e. vulnerability, risk assessment, management including prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery (UN 2002). Integrated analysis inspite of challenges has been encouraged in global framework like the Hyogo Framework of Action (HFA) and Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (SFDRR) (Melanie S. kappes, 2012). There is a continuous focus to include more hazards interactions at present to include as many hazards as possible. Thus a close relationship between different risks and cascade effects stresses for a more integrated approach to be applied at different levels (Serkan Girgin, 2019).
The present study is based on Union Territory (UT) of Ladakh (34.00N, 78.00E) of North-Western Himalayas (Figure 1.1). The region is known for having its own peculiar charm, cultural harmony, different ethnic identity, and complex topography. In geographical terms, the whole region is divided into three major sub regions known as Upper Ladakh, Central and Lower Ladakh (Dar, 2017). The region has been attracting people to explore it from very ancient times (F.M. hassnain, 2012). The region on one side was known for its glorious history of having its own kingdom and charm, while on the other side, it also has been continuously affected by wars, natural disasters, climatic extremes (Parvez, 2012), (Masson, 2013). The region because of its extreme location to north coupled with high altitude experiences the most difficult and harsh winters. The region remains cut off from the rest of world due to closure of Zojila pass (connecting road to other states and regions ) from November -May every year due to heavy snowfall and extreme weather conditions. The region because of mountainous nature and complex topography and geomorphology makes it prone to multiple Disasters like earthquakes, floods, landslides, wind/ snow storms, snow avalanches, lightning, hailstorms etc (DM Plan Leh and kargil). The region has witnessed many disasters in the past like the cloud burst induced flashfloods of 2010 and there has been considerable increase in the frequency of other natural hazards because of population growth, climate change and growth of new settlements in unsafe locations around unstable slopes (Suri, 2018), (Barrett, 2014).
Owing to its sparse population and remote location, the region had received limited attention of policy makers and largely remained off the radar of environmental planners till the end of the 20th century. As the region lies in close proximity to the international border with Pakistan and China, it has witnessed several minor to major conflicts in the past and large military presence makes it a potential future conflict region (peter sammonds, 2019). Similarly, the development pace of the region has gone through different phases owing to difficult geomorphology, extreme weather and isolated location in many sectors. The tourism sector has played an important role in developmental transformation of the region. This development has been affected by both disaster and developmental events. Growth of the tourism sector is believed to be complex and nonlinear phenomenon depending on several factors like uprisings, conflict, economic slowdowns, global capital flows, tourist habits, new trend destinations, weather and climate changes and recent natural disasters etc (Peliciardi, 2016). All these factors are not under the local control and can occur at unpredictable pace and time, thus, resulting in fluctuations in annual tourist inflow to the region. Since the opening of tourism sector in 1974, the region has witnessed a continuous increase with occasional dramatic fall in the tourist flow and related activities in the region (Vladimiro, 2013), (Pelliciardi, 2010).
Considering the complex nature of the region, this study has been carried out with an aim to understand the linkages between disasters, development and vulnerability. There has been studies having ample evidences, of linkages between disaster, development and vulnerability (Fordham M., 2009). These studies emphasis for a close coordination within these sectors that it remains viable over an indefinite period and does not degrade or alter the environment and other vulnerabilities to such an extent that it impacts the successful development and wellbeing of other activities and processes (Desbiolles, 2017). The present study focuses on a similar interface analysis in the region. For the analysis, tourism sector of the region has been taken as principal developmental criterion which has been studied under disaster and development scenarios. The role of disasters, development and emerging vulnerabilities are studied for a long-term effective planning through appropriate mitigation strategies for sustainable development.