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Floods >> Extent of Disaster >> Stories of Disaster
  Mumbai Flood Relief and Rehabilitation Resource Centre 
in association with Times Foundation

BMC Disaster Control: Phone: 1916 or 108 or 22694725 / 7 or Fax 22694719. Online complaints via
Times Helpline: 56354376 / 45
Karmayog Helpline: 98201-55591 (Upadhyay)  

As you must be aware Mumbai was inundated by massive flood following record rainfall on 26th July and thereafter. We are going through tremendous task of building up whatever we have lost due to floods. But still we are thankful by grace of GOD all the children and staff of Support are safe. 

We wrote a small article of what children went through during that night which are forwarding it to you . 
Sujata Ganega  (
Executive Director
Tel No.2665 2904 

26 July – A day when the heavens opened up and hell reined in Mumbai

It was a day which should have been like any other monsoon day in Mumbai.  In fact, the children of SUPPORT (an NGO rehabilitating drug using street children), were looking forward to an afternoon of fun and swimming at the Breach Candy Swimming Club.  The Club had consented for the children to use the pool and lawn for playing games.  The children had a great time in the pool.  The light drizzle added to the fun.  After enjoying the dip in the water, the children were offered tea and snacks, which they readily gobbled up.  As they were having their snack, the drizzle turned into a heavy downpour and the children were sad that they could not play on the lawn.  They recited the poem – rain, rain, go away ; come again another day, little johnny wants to play.  But their recitation went unheeded.  At 3.30 pm, the staff of SUPPORT decided to get back in the bus and head for their rehab centre at Santacruz.  Little did they realise that they were embarking on a journey of a lifetime.  What should normally take not more than one hour, took them  ten nightmarish hours ! 

The 43 children and 4 staff of SUPPORT had no idea of the impending travails of their journey.  They were already a bit wet from the rains when they got into the bus and their destination was Santacruz, which recorded 94 cms. rain during the next few hours.  After 2 hours they had barely travelled a few kilometres when the water level was one foot from the ground.  One staff member regretted not carrying his mobile and enough cash with him, little realising that neither would have been of any use in the next few treacherous hours.  At 7 pm the kids had not even reached half way that the water level started entering the bus.  The children were already feeling cold with the dampness, hunger and pain from being cramped up in the bus.  People on the streets were giving conflicting reports of water level ahead.  At 8 pm, the staff decided to take the children out of the bus as they were getting cramps with the cold and lack of movement, and water had entered the bus.  Fortunately, the two lady staff could be left near their homes.  

With age ranging from 6 years to 18 years, some of the staff and bigger boys had to take responsibility of holding the smaller children.   As they started walking in the water, they realised that each one would have to give his all if they had to survive.  The water level was constantly rising and was above waist height now.  One physically challenged boy without both arms had to be carried on the shoulder by one staff.  Everybody was shivering with cold now that they were half submerged in the water and rain was pelting down on them with a constant strong cold breeze.  The weather man had given no warning of what the Mumbaikar was to expect that day.  The government machinery was conspicuous by their absence – no police, no home guards, no fire brigade personnel.  If there was any disaster management plan made by the civic officials, it proved to be a disaster ! Only a few brave hearts from the public, mainly youth, were willing to risk their lives to save those of others.  They would give people directions and a helping hand.  But among these deeds of valour there were also many to take advantage of the situation by molesting women and looting.   

By the time they reached the suburb of Bandra, most of the younger children had to be carried by the bigger boys and staff.  The lights went off here and a sea of people were wading through torrents of water in pitch dark. To lift morale and be together, the children were all singing songs and shouting SUPPORT zindabad (long live SUPPORT).  The songs soon turned to prayers. Although they were holding hands, the group inadvertently got split in two due to obstacles like fallen trees, road dividers, manholes etc.  One staff had 16 children with him and the other 27 children.  The group with 16 children struggled upto Santacruz flyover only to find it half submerged.  They somehow managed to cross it and get to the other side.  From here they saw that the police station was fully submerged in water.  Their rehab centre was just a few hundred meters away now but it was like the last few kilometers of the marathon – most painful and lonely.  When they finally reached the centre, there was a cry of relief from the children and staff who were desperately waiting and praying for their safe return.  But these were only half the children.  The rest were still out there – no one knew where.  Then a couple of big boys from that group reached the centre and informed that the other group was holed up in a bus far away. A private bus driver had seen their plight and let the children in. The only vehicle at the disposal of SUPPORT was a jeep.  The driver of SUPPORT immediately took off for the spot where the children were stranded.  But it was not easy to reach them as the bus was marooned across a marshy stretch of land.  The children would have to cross that stretch and jump over two walls to reach the jeep.  The situation was desperate and there was little choice.  The kids waded through the marsh climbed two walls and jumped onto the waiting jeep – all 27 of them !  The jeep then meandered through the water and reached the rehab centre.  By god’s grace, all the 43 children and staff had reached safely!  It was nothing less than a heroic feat for these children who have come out of their addiction to face the challenge of the situation so bravely.  Despite the odds, they did not succumb to the situation but faced the crisis with a lot of determination and saw through the entire ordeal.  They even rallied to help each other and  some other people who were stranded in the water.

On reaching their rehab centre the children heaved a sigh of relief but were dismayed to see the rainwater seeping in through the roof and walls.  The place where they would normally sleep was drenched with water.  Some of the staff had stayed back at the rehab centre and provided the children with a hot cup of tea and a meal.  The smaller boys were given a rub of vicks vapourub to keep the chill away.  All this was done without lights, as the electric supply had been switched off by the power supply company.  The phones had also gone on the blink.  The next few days would be without lights, telephone, water supply and rations but that was a different challenge.  And the SUPPORT kids and staff do not shy away from any challenge.

Our kitchen, which is a little further away from our centre, in one of the worst affected areas in Mumbai viz. Kalina, was entirely submerged in water and all our stocks of food grains were destroyed.  The bigger boys who manage the kitchen, could only salvage whatever little they could.  But as they say, adversity tests friends and SUPPORT’s friends and well wishers were again ready to help the children with material and moral support.  Long live the spirit of support !

Aug 10, 2005

Last week, a local NGO group from Pune visited Ratnagiri District (Chiplun and Sangmeshwar talukas), and they have a devastating and horrific picture of destruction to tell which no media has covered. Our group of volunteers visited 17 villages braving torrential rains, wading through slush to reach the remote, almost inaccessible villages. They witnessed that landslides and rains had washed away entire villages - most of them belonging to very poor fisher folks and small farmers, who in a state of shocked trance were digging through moulds of debris, pushing huge boulders with bare hands to search for their buried kith and kiln. Everywhere they went the area was filled with overpowering stench of decaying flesh. All they could find were body parts (a piece of human hand or leg) that speaks of the extent of damage done by falling boulders. Many huts have been completely flattened. There may be many more villages of which we are unaware at present, but once the rain fury abides we will get a clear picture of the deluge.

Entire villages were wiped away, the shivering survivours clung to each other for support, sheltering on higher grounds in local schools (or what was left of them in some areas), with no water and food. With fields under water and other means for survival the villagers are left to fend for themselves. Our team visited the following villages and assessed the approximate number of affected families:

Chiplun Taluka:-
-Gavalkat village -70 families
-Mazre Kashi -village -40 families
-Dalvatne village -20 families
-Khordivillage -300 families
-Sati village -125 families
-Kaluste village -30 families
-Kalambaste village -60 families

-Chiplun and its neighbourhood areas - 300 households
-Juad village -20 families
-Donavali village -10 families
-Ganglai village -10 families
-Valupe village -10 families

Sangmeshwar Taluka:-
-Dingni village -20 families
-Khongur village -20 families
-Konde village -10 families
-Davkhol village -25 families
-Sakharpe village -200 families
-Bhad Khamba -village -190 families

The plight of city dwellers received extensive media footage but hardly any cameraman or government machinery covered the extent of damage to the poor remote coastal villages. Many local NGOs in the District are rendered helpless as their small offices have been indundated with flood waters damaging all equipment.

Can we act and provide succour to those affected? Our volunteers who spoke to the villagers - say their immediate basic survival needs are - food, clothing, shelter, medicines; and for long term measures - soft loans for housing, starting fishing trade, seeds, equipment for agriculture, purchase of cattle, etc. We have support of our network partners in the district who will volunteer relief work to the affected. The school going children need text books and notes. Can Karmayog groups recommend suitable supportive agencies for help. 

Our contact person is Adv Assunta Pardhe, Project Director of Chetana Mahila Vikas Kendra {a human rights and communal peace advocacy NGO working for marginalized women, youth and communities in Pune slums and Sindhudurg villages and a network partner of Konkan Vikas Prathisthan, and also a lead NGO for legal literacy in Pune district (selected by Zilla Parishad Pune)}. The NGO has an FCRA certification and all donations are exempt from IT under 
80 G.

Contact no: 263549516 (office 9 am to 6 pm)
mobile no: 9422032599
e-mail address: 

I support this dedicated NGO hence my appeal to the Karmayag group.

Aruna A
You would be aware with the flood situation in Mumbai. It was really a worse flood city has ever experienced. I stranded at Priyashrshani building for whole night. Water was about 6-8 feet above the ground in some areas. In kurla west side water was above the double dekker bus. I was on the road on 26th night .It was just poring. I was standing middle of the road with an umbrella in the hand which was only the protection at that point of time.

From worli I walked down to the Dadar.It took me about 2.30 hours to reach to Dadar from Worli.It was disturbing to see the people sitting there on
the ladder. I was more concerned about the women who stranded over there. Some were carrying babies .In dadar (east) water was above the waist. I further walked down towards kurla via highway. Everything seems submerged and water was simply all over the place .It was just the extension of the sea.

While walking down, the worst and least expected thing occur .There was a 6-7 feet dig on the road divider. And in an attempt to walk faster and
overtake people I could not recognize it and fell down there.3-4 people pulled me out of the dig. I got a minor cut on my four fingers which kept
bleeding for a while. I simply had a narrow escape. But the journey was not over yet.

When I reach Neharunagar in the morning about 7 o' clock. to my surprise I saw ground floor of all the building submerged. Over there water level was over 6-7 feet. There was no indication of we going back home. Few ambitious people tried to pass but they could not stand the fury of water
and became victims of the rains. I saw three dead bodies passing by. I also saw people being carried by the force of water .I was just helpless I
could not do anything.

I managed to found four friends of mine. This helped in mitigating some stress. We later took shelter in the building at Neharunagar for a while. Pepole of the building was very supportive. They not only allowed us to stay but also offered the tea which was instrumental in energizing us. We earlier thought of going to kurla station to take the shelter but it was already crowded. The kurla station was occupied by 60000 odd stranded

We all decided to go home. Everyone was determined and longing to reach home at any cost. We took risk and decided to walk through 6 feet water. By this time people from the area have also come out to help the people. They have supplied the ropes, bamboos and wooden blocks. We started walking down. I was carrying a "zola". I kept it over the head. I hold the rope with one hand and by other I maintained the zola carrying mobile and couple of books. I kept shouting at top of my voice to motivate them, to resolve fear in them. As we go along the pressure of the water has increased, my feet were not moving .It was difficult to maintain the pressure of the neck high water force. I had to hold the rope and push
myself with all my strength. At last with the support of the local youth and the strong determination we managed to reach home.

By next day navy has been summoned. They provided with the boat which enable the people to reach their houses safely. In addition to this what
added to the misery was the unavailability of the cellular network when we need it most. That panicked the situation further.

Now, the condition is very grim. The eatable were supplied by the navy. There is no water (for drinking, cooking and for daily use), no electricity , dead bodies floating over the water, stinking garbage all over, supply of the essential commodities have dried up. In the evening the water was provided throught the tanker and the milk was distributed by the administration.

The prevailing condition may lead to the epidemic if not controlled and addressed properly with priorities. 

This is what I have to share at this point of time. I would get back to you with more details next time.

Government fail not to handle the disaster situation efficiently and bragging of converting the Mumbai into Shangahi.

I shall conclude now.



National Office: Haji Habab Building, First Floor, 182

Naigaon Cross Road, Dadar (E), Mumbai- 400014

                                                                                                                                                                                 Date: 29.07.05


Floods create havoc in Mumbai city: An Appeal and an Update                       


Today when the torrential rains and blocked drains in Mumbai have caused a havoc in the maxim city with flooding of houses flowing away of humans and cattle, collapsed huts and houses, trees and temples, very few are concerned about what is happening to the poor slum dwellers in and on the periphery of the city, the thousands of these daily wage earners, single woman, the pregnant and lactating mothers who didn’t lose only their shelter but their livelihood too, are left shattered and shaken. With hands to mouth existence they faced demolition of houses that in turn severely affected their livelihoods, are further destitutionalised with the pouring rains and water in the Mumbai’s drains and creeks on the boundaries of the city.


The communities where our consistent work is on, struggle for the rights and constructive work, building human resources, strengthening local institutions and approaching and impelling the state agencies to provide and improve the services, there is an inbuilt capacity with local leadership to face the natural and man made calamity with some support from outside. While the people can build their own shelter, they urgently need the plastic sheets- tarpaulin to cover with bamboos. Those who had always lived with two pairs of clothes can’t do it now with same spoiled and water not allowing to dry. The diseases have started spreading slowly, malaria already rampant in the marshy places and children catching respiratory and gastric troubles obviously.


Many families whose stored material, including grains got lost, are even hungry, especially since on are hand, they have no source of income, , hawking etc. too is severely affected during these days and public distribution system is almost defunct.

For some families, such as that of Baswanram a blind person from Mandala there is no space and support to live on. Rahul Roy from Anna Bhau Sathe Nagar flew away, as the water rose, is still unfound and the Deonar Police Station that was avoiding lodging of FIR, finally had to do it with activists intervention.


Amidst this kindling a hope, are the stories of common people’s brevity and solidarity with each other. In Anna Bhau Sathe Nagar, slum dwellers rehabilitated nearly supported the families who had to take resort to the half constructed, half occupied buildings overnight. Feeding for a few days was also done by the previously slum dwelling families who remembered their woes.


In Mandala, women now empowered, were looking after the old, sick single women and people took upon themselves the task of saving children and shifting people. Many had to spend the rainy night on the streets, with water flows underneath.


In Rafi Nagar and Sanjay Nagar the damp garbage all around, stinking and the cemetery they were thrown into also got flooded, leaving them with no dry space to step on. The families around, themselves poor were the first helping hands.


Ekta Nagar on the western side had the worst flood of its kind. These suburbs where the waters could not be drained, are facing the worst due to blockage of the natural drains which has happened due to ad-hoc planning while digging the roads, reclaiming the lands and building highways and flyovers or closing gutters in the name of beautification of Mumbai.


The shocking statement of MMRDA chief Mr. Chandrasekhar and the Minister, Mr. Ajit Pawar declaring slums as the main reason, are indicative of not just callousness or ignorance but also conspiracy. These leading men are certainly all out to promote further eviction of the poor and grab the land and the projects, now in the name of Mumbai Bachao ( Save Mumbai), with no bounds. There are many in governmental and Non-governmental sectors that will surely be all only to extract resources and waste it. We must be committed to work with communities, involve people and undertake relief as a step towards rehabilitation of these poor.


It’s with this approach that a team of 20 students and faculty members from Tata Institute of Social Sciences and the local and trained activists as well as supporters of NAPM and Narmada Bachao Andolan, Nirbhay Bano Andolan, Shahar Vikas Manch involved in Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao struggle of the Mumbai urban poor have taken up the work in these localities.


The requirements assessed that can be taken care of within own capacity are as follows.

Name of Community

Housing Material For Families.

(3 Kg. Of Plastic per family@ Rs.50-60/Kg

Food Grains

@5 Kg.Rice

1 Kg & Dal per family

Medicines (through temporary dispensation by Doctors)

Anna Bhau Sathe Nagar



15 quintal rice

3 quintal pulses

Tablets- Didofenac,Paracetomol,Chloroquine,Amoxyclin,Rantac,Cyclopa,

Albendazole. Hairwash Cetavlon, Micogel ointment

Rafi Nagar


10 quintal rice

 2 quintal pulses

Same as Above

Sanjay Nagar


2.5 quintal rice

0.5 quintal pulses





20 quintal rice

5 quintal pulses


Ekta Nagar


20 quintal rice

5 quintal pulses




Do respond, Contacting


Pervin Jehangir  Ph.No. 022-22184779, 22185832, 9820636335

Simpreet Ph. 9323254706

Mohan Chavan Ph. No. 9322512983

Medha Patkar 9869446684



Contact Vijay Nagraj or Dr. Parasuraman 022-25563289-96.



Yours in Solidarity,


Medha Patkar     Pervin Jehangir     Shakeel Ahmed     Mohan Chauhan     Simpreet