There is no city in the world like Mumbai when it comes to human bonding and resilience at the time of crisis. But, how much of resilience tests does Mumbai need to give? Basically, 2005 has taught us nothing? We are still ill equipped to deal with deluges and high tides. Mumbai-based Abhilasha, a photo-journalist, reports from Ground Zero, exclusively for Different Truths.
Even as 190mm is very high rainfall for any city around the world, the highest received rainfall in 10 hours in one area of Mumbai was 300mm, on August 29, 2017. A friend explaining to me that we are in the max density rain, high tide at the sea and 9km of mad cloud build up. Time can never mend the disturbing memories of 26th July 2005 when rains brought the city down to its knees. Till date, Mumbaikars tread out carefully on a rainy day.
I was out working but all throughout with a nagging feeling of something being different about the way the rain fell that day. Around 11 am decided to start back home. Like me, many Mumbaikars were taken by surprise and a number of them left whatever they were doing and started back home by taking the train or cab. I got back home after a five-hour ordeal for a distance that is covered in 45 minutes. Total chaos! What stood out was the volunteers helping people and standing in knee high water, bikers approaching people stranded and offering to drive them to the closest safe place. By this time, the railway tracks were filled with water and the trains stopped wherever they were. People got off and started walking on the tracks. Roads filled up due to the high tide and people left their vehicles wherever they were and walked to a safe place close by.
Not to forget the Ganapati festivities of the city, today being the 5th-day Visarjan. The high tide had water logged the roads. There was no need to go to the sea for Visarjan when the sea looked all set to come to you. Jokes apart, hats off to the people of Mumbai who’re actually giving shelters to others stuck on roads and could not reach home. Humanity is alive. A man and his son, who is a cancer patient and were returning from Tata Hospital were stuck in Sion. Innumerable Mumbaikars tweeted asking nearby people to help the duo. They finally found a home close by to rest till they could go to their own. Locals have been sharing their addresses and contact details, offering shelter and food to anyone and everyone who needs it. Offices, gurudwaras, restaurants volunteered to offer sanctuary to people stranded. On social media, Mumbaiites cautioned their fellow residents on the roads to avoid and shared numbers and contact details of agencies that could offer help. Such is Mumbai!
There is no city in the world like Mumbai when it comes to human bonding and resilience at the time of crisis. We see that again and again. But, how much of resilience tests does Mumbai need to give? Basically, 2005 has taught us nothing? We are still ill equipped to deal with deluges and high tides.
And as I was venting, I got some more info on Mumbai city from various social media sites of BMC and Mumbai Police. Our pumping stations are running full capacity 36,000 l per second. And that over the past six years drain sizes increased to 50m diameter. So well, I can’t blame the BMC I suppose, they have done their bit. This city is growing so fast that it often slips out of the hands of our governing bodies.
While we can all slam the BMC today and for the rest of the year, as citizens, we need to now start taking up responsibility too. If we managed our garbage better instead of dumping things in sewers and drains, I suppose the damage to the city would be less severe.
Unprecedented to wake up to drained out roads after such heavy rain. BMC is doing something right. Not all of it, but something for sure. Many thanks to all the BMC workers who worked tirelessly to save Mumbai from sinking on that day. A big shout out to the men in yellow raincoats and the guys working the pumps, for doing a stellar job!
Good job’s done Mumbai!
Photos by the author and one that of the railway tracks, from the Internet.
#MumbaiDeluge #ResilienceInCrisis #Mumbaikars #DrainageProblems #MumbaiWaterlogged #BMC #TataHospital #GanapatiVisarjan #DifferentTruths
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