Natural disasters in India, many of them related to the India’s climate, cause massive loss of life and property. Droughts, flash floods, cyclones, avalanches, landslides brought on by torrential rains, and snowstorms all pose threats. Other dangers include frequent summer dust storms, which usually track from north to south; they cause extensive property damage in North India and deposit large amounts of dust from arid regions. Hail is also common in parts of India, causing severe damage to standing crops such as rice and wheat.
Floods are the most common natural disaster in India. The heavy southwest monsoon rains cause the Brahmaputra and other rivers to overflow and flood surrounding areas. Though they provide rice paddy farmers with a largely dependable source of natural irrigation and fertilization, the floods can kill thousands and displace millions. Excess, erratic, or untimely monsoon rainfall also washes away or otherwise ruins crops. Almost all of India is flood-prone, and extreme precipitation events, such as flash floods and torrential rains, have become increasingly common in central India over the past several decades, coinciding with rising temperatures.
Indian agriculture is heavily dependent on the monsoon as a source of water. In some parts of India, the failure of the monsoons result in water shortages, resulting in below-average crop yields. This is particularly true of major drought-prone regions such as southern and eastern Maharashtra, northern Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Gujarat, and Rajasthan. In the past, droughts have periodically led to major Indian famines in which millions of people died.