Kullu district is situated in the lap of the western Himalayas. It falls in a transitional zone between the lesser and the greater Himalayas and presents a typical rugged mountainous terrain with moderate to high altitude which varies from 1200 meters to over 6000 meters. It is spread over an area of 5503 sq. kilometers and around 90% of its population lives in villages situated in far-flung and inaccessible areas. It is divided into four sub-divisions namely Kullu, Manali, Banjar and Anni. The District comprises of six Tehsils/ Sub Tehsils viz, Kullu Manali, Banjar, Sainj, Nirmand and Anni and five Development Blocks i.e Naggar, Kullu, Banjar, Anni and Nirmand.
The Beas and Satluj are the main rivers of the district. The Beas, which forms the world famous valley of Kullu, rises from the Pir Panjal Ranges near Rohtang Pass at a height of over 3900 meters above mean sea level and flows southwards for about 120 kms. It leaves Kullu at a place called Bajaura. Sarwari and Parvati are its main tributaries. The river Beas and its tributaries have lowest level during the winter months of December, January and February and highest level during June, July and August. The Satluj river on the southern side of the district rises from Mansarover in Tibet and touches the district in Nirmand. Mantalai, Khirganga, Brighu, Dashar and Serolsar lakes are also in this district. Apart from this, there are some very beautiful waterfalls in the district.
Calamities in the form of heavy rains, could-burst, flash floods, landslides, hail storms, forest fires, avalanches and accidents cause a lot of misery and damage to the people of the district almost every year. The district falls in the highest seismic zone i.e. Zone V and is prone to disastrous earthquakes. The Kangra earthquake of 1905 did substantial damage to life and property in Kullu. Flash floods occurred in the district in September, 1995 due to heavy rains in the higher mountainous reaches. The worst affected part was from Palchan to Bajaura where the river Beas caused substantial damage to public and private property on its right as well as left bank. In July 2001, Manikaran, a historical place popularly known for its hot springs, was hit by flash floods of river Parvati which caused heavy damage to public property aggregating to Rs. 50 lacs. Apart from damage to property, several persons have lost their lives in severe cloud-bursts at Manikaran (1994), Bara Bhuin (2001), Bhadhali and Sarali (2001), Pulia Nalla (2003) and Kangri Nullah (2003). More recently, in December 2014, heavy snowfall took place in the Kullu and Manali sub-divisions. It was an unprecedented event as the snowfall happened much before the usual time and covered areas like the Kullu town which usually remain unaffected by snowfall even in the peak of winters. Due to this heavy snowfall, the main electricity transmission line from Mandi district to Kullu was severely damaged and a large number of transformers were damaged in both Kullu and Manali. The loss to public and private property was in crores of rupees and Kullu was without power for seven days. Consequently, disaster management is a crucial part of the activities of the district administration in Kullu.
Prior to 2005, the approach to disaster management was reactive and relief centric. After the enactment of the Disaster Management Act, 2005 (DM Act), a paradigm shift has taken place from the relief centric syndrome to holistic and integrated approach to disaster management with emphasis on Prevention, Mitigation and Preparedness. These efforts are aimed to conserve developmental gains as also to minimize losses to lives, livelihood and property. A District Disaster Management Committee has been constituted along with sub-division level committees and all incidents of disasters/ accidents are promptly attended to by the District Administration. Prompt rescue operations are organized in all cases and relief is being provided to the victims of disasters/ accidents and their families as per the provisions of the Himachal Pradesh Disaster and Relief Manual, 2012.