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Floods >> Work done by NGOs  >> Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS)

The Mumbai Floods and the Intervention of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences:

A Report  

In the wake of the unprecedented rains and the consequent floods of 26th and 27th July 2005 large parts of Mumbai were badly affected. By the morning of 27th July 2005 it was clear that a natural phenomenon was taking the shape of a major disaster. Given its longstanding experience in intervening in disaster situations the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) moved to respond to the disaster. Even as the Institute grappled with a large number of missing students, faculty and staff members calls were made to the office of the Chief Secretary and the Municipal Commissioner offering all possible assistance.  

It was clear from the outset that the people most at risk were those living in the sprawling slums of Mumbai, mostly in the low lying areas with poor drainage, many along overflowing drains and sewers. The M Ward in which TISS is located is home to a number of such settlements, many of which were in fact demolished in the recent demolition drive, these homeless people were particularly vulnerable.  

The TISS response essentially involved the Institute playing three major roles:  

a)      Relief work within affected communities through its students and faculty;

b)      Bringing NGOs and CBOs working with the urban poor together to assess, plan and strengthen relief and rehabilitation;

c)      Amplifying urgent relief material requirements of CBOs, NGOs and others working in the field and facilitating their sourcing and disbursement.  

Relief Work  

TISS swung into action on the 28th July with its students and faculty visiting affected areas and engaging in needs assessment and relief work. Students Doctors and Social Workers began collaborating with local NGOs and CBOs to organize medical camps and other relief efforts. Over the next few days TISS students worked in and around affected areas in Chembur, Govandi, Mankhurd, Ghatkopar, Vikhroli and Panvel conducting medical camps and assisting organizations working with affected people in a range of ways (See Table 1).   

The tasks undertaken by TISS volunteers included needs assessment, surveys, setting up medical camps and distributing medicines, health education etc. The medical camps reached out to over 3000 affected families. At the same time TISS volunteers also began to mobilize resources needed for relief, both cash and in kind, through appeals to individuals and institutions.  

Mobilizing Resources for Relief  

On the 2nd of August the GoM approached TISS with a request to help coordinate relief work in particular within the M Ward. However the resources given to the Institute were far short of the requirement. TISS moved into a role of mobilizing resources for relief and matching them with requirements and needs of local NGOs and CBOs working in the affected areas. In order to maximize its reach TISS appealed for help over FM Radio Channels, the Internet and through its extensive network of faculty, student and staff. The students of the Institute formed a small group that dedicated itself to resource mobilization from individuals, corporations and other institutions. Over the next week with a collective effort of students and faculty the Institute was able to respond to a wide range of requests for help in different parts of Mumbai even though it focused itself on M Ward.  

TISS played two different but equally important roles a) connecting donors directly with agencies thereby channeling resources to where they were most needed and b) sourcing, receiving, holding and disbursing relief materials that NGOs and CBOs working in the field identified as priorities. Some examples of the first kind included facilitating the supply of urgently needed essential drugs to locations as diverse as Somaiyya Hospital and rural Raigad (Panvel and Pen talukas) and provision of medicines and relief materials to affected families in Mumbra in Thane district. The Institute also facilitated the approval, release, transportation and distribution of two tons of food grains from the GoM within M Ward.  

Thanks to the credibility of TISS and the work put in by students and faculty TISS was able to secure significantly large donations of food grains from entities such as NTPC, Tata Power, Tata Relief and BPCL and items of personal hygiene in form of kits from HLL, medicines and medical supplies from Johnson and Johnson, Wockhardt, Universal Medicare, Hexaware Technologies etc in addition to medicines, clothes and other relief materials from a number of individual and institutional sources. The Institute was also able to raise funds from the Tulsi Trust to prepare family kits containing essential articles in collaboration with the College of Social Work that were distributed to affected families. The Institute has also secured a commitment from agencies like HPCL to support rehabilitation efforts (See Table 2 for more details of relief received and disbursed by TISS).  

The relief materials received by TISS were distributed among NGOs and CBOs working in affected areas on the basis of a collective and participatory needs assessment that involved a number of organizations working within the ward coming together to take stock of what was available or what was needed and decide where it was most needed and who was best equipped to reach it to the affected people. On the basis of these meetings as well as constant updates received from NGOs and CBOs working in the affected areas TISS dispatched relief materials to affected communities. TISS also received help from volunteers from SOSVA, TCS and Tata Power in this effort.  

Coordination and Advocacy  

On the 2nd of August TISS convened and hosted a meeting of NGOs, CBOs and aid agencies from across Mumbai to attempt to make an assessment of the overall extent damage and priorities in terms of relief needs as well as outline specific measures that the Government and the City Administration needs to take. An advocacy group was formed at the meeting with a mandate to begin a dialogue with the Government on key issues such as provision of temporary shelter and food-grains, medical assistance, compensation and other rehabilitation needs in areas of housing, food security, health and education. This group proceeded to draft a detailed memorandum to the Chief Minister and this formed the basis for further ongoing dialogue with the Government regarding relief and rehabilitation.  

At the same meeting it was decided to adopt a decentralized approach to coordination and an attempt was made to establish loose mechanisms at the ward level. It was also agreed to reconvene ward wise on a regular basis to share information and other resources and meet as a larger group later to review the situation.  

Since then four meetings of NGOs, CBOs, citizens groups and other institutional entities located or working within M ward were convened at the TISS between 5th and 11th August. Officials from the BMC and the administration were also invited to some of these meetings to enable a direct and collective dialogue and quick problem solving. These meetings have become the basis of decision-making on the ward level strategy and have also guided the Institute’s own relief efforts.  

The Institute continues to play the role of a forum seeking to bring together NGOs, CBOs, the administration and other actors in order to ensure effective relief and rehabilitation of affected families.


Table 1: List of Areas in Which TISS Undertook Relief Work  



Affected Families (approx.)

Suman Nagar


800 families

Netaji nagar


1000 families

Maharashtra Nagar


1000 families

Jai Ambe Nagar


500 families

Padma Nagar


800 families



1500 families


Raigad district

Over 1000

Rahul Nagar


Not known

Bhim Chaya Nagar


Over 800 families

Maharashtra Nagar


Over 1000 families



Over 1340 families

 Table 2: Summary of Relief Materials Received and Disbursed by TISS


Details of Quantity of Relief Materials Allotted Locality and Number of families   Name and Contact Details of Organization  Sources



Suman Nagar
Netaji nagar

Maharashtra Nagar 

TISS, Manav Mukti Morcha and NAPM TISS, Rotary Club, Deonar


Medicines, Biscuits



Rahul Nagar

Bhim Chaya Nagar  

TISS and NAPM TISS, Rotary Club, Deonar



Kandivili - PS



 Nirmala Niketan   Rotary Club, Deonar







Universal Medicare


1 carton Multivitamins,

10 litres of oil,

50 kg rice, 20 kg of daal, biscuits

1 can of lyzol, I sack bleaching powder, band aid, savlon, clothes

 Chembur, Shivajinagar

Stree Mukti Sanghatna   Universal Medicare, Johnson & Johnson,

Individual donors




2 cartons multivitamins,

1 can lyzol, I sack bleaching powder,


Raigad District, Panvel / Pen

Samajik Adaahar Manch

Dr. V. Rao

Universal Medicare, Johnson & Johnson,

Individual donors


2000 kg rice

500 kg dal



GoM, Gems & Jewelers Assoc.



 5 sacks bleaching powder

3 cans lyzol

4 boxes multivitamins  

  Maharashtra Nagar

Apnalaya Individual Donors,

Universal Medicare


200 kg daal

1000 bedsheets



Manav Mukti Morcha, NAPM Individual Donors &

Gems & Jewelers Assoc.



 500 kg atta

200 kg daal

 Vashinaka, Bharat nagar, Shashti nagar, Nimboli bagh, Chembur colony 
1550 families

  CORO for Literacy

 Individual Donors &

Gems & Jewelers Assoc.






800 family packs

860 hygeine kits

8 boxes biscuits

2 sacks bleaching powder



Sathe Nagar, Matangrishi Nagar, New Mandala, Jaihind Nagar, Gautham Nagar

950 families



Anyay Nivaran Krithi Samiti


Tata Relief, HLL, Individual donors





276 family packs

280 hygeine kits

1 box biscuits


Sant Gadgemaharaj Chawl, Khardeo Nagar

276 families


Sant Gadgemaharaj Rehvashi Sangh


Tata Relief, HLL


10000 kg rice

5000 kg sugar

145 tins oil

2000 kg salt

1000 kg tea

200 kg dal

1550 hygeine kits

10 box biscuits

2 sacks bleaching powder

200 kg dal


Vashinaka, Bharat nagar, Shashti nagar, Nimboli bagh, Chembur colony

1550 families

CORO for Literacy NTPC, Tata Relief,

HLL, Individual donors







 315 Hygeine kits

1 sack bleaching powder

1 tin oil

2 box biscuits



300 family packs

 Indira Nagar No 2

300 families

Mohala Committee Trust, Gharkul Trust HLL, Individual donors





Tata Relief


1200 family packs

700 hygeine kits

1 box biscuits

Gaekwad nagar, Shramjeevi nagar

Pragathik Vidyarthi Sangh Tata relief, HLL, Individual donors



1 box biscuits

  Samyadeep Vichar Manch  Individual donors


 450 family packs

350 hygeine kits

4 box biscuits

 Shivaji nagar

450 families

 Apnalaya  Tata Relief, HLL




300 family packs,

300 hygeine kits



Sthri mukthi sangatana


Tata Relief, HLL


1500 family packs

500kg dal

500kg rice

2 box biscuits

 1700 families

Mandala, Jai Ambenagar, Maharashtra Nagar



 Manav Mukti Morcha, NAPM



 Tata Relief, BPCL


17 boxes Biscuits

2 tempo loads of Clothes, Towels and Bedsheets

 Vakola, Santa Cruz

Tri Ratna Mandal Indian Hotels, Individual Donors


9-8-05 and


 1430kg rice

75 kg atta

110 kg dal

50 kg of sugar

8 box biscuits

503 hygeine kits  

 503 families
Khardeo nagar
 Ekta nagar Rahivashi Society Satyanrayan Society

Sanjay Smriti Society Lalwadi Rahivashi Sangh

Adarsh Seva Mandal

 Tata Power, HLL Individual donors



130 Hygiene Kits  


Samajik Aadhar Manch (Dr. Vidya Rao)  



108 Hygiene Kits
bedsheets, towels, utensils

 Jogeshwari (E)


HLL, Indian Hotels

Individual Donors


5 Sacks of Bleaching powder


Tata Relief

Individual Donor









Chembur, Kurla, Raigad District


Pragatik Vidyarthi Sangathan,



Chembur Citizens’ Forum,

Niramaya Health Foundation,

Samajik Aadhar Manch  



Individual Donors



3 cartons of assorted medical equipment

3 cans of paracetamol



Chembur, Govandi, Mankhurd


Apnalaya Dispensary

Johnson & Johnson, Universal Medicare, Individual Donors  



 September 02, 2005



Support TISS Relief Work

An Appeal To Support People Affected By Floods In Mumbai.

The Tata Institue of Social Sciences was established in 1936 as the Sir Dorabji Tata Graduate School of Social Work and was renamed Tata Institute
of Social Science in the year 1944. It was the first Institution of its kind in India which subsequently influenced the direction of social work education and social research.

The Institute has always been involved in relief work since its earliest days. In troubled times after the partition of India, a team of students, led by the faculty, worked in refugee camps at Kurukshetra. It has continued the tradition over the years. The Institute has responded to relief work in Morbi (dam burst), Andhra Pradesh (flash floods), Osmanabad, Latur and recently Gujarat earthquate, Orissa cyclone and Tamil Nadu, Andaman and 
Nicobar Islands for the Tsunami.

The unprecedented 944 mm of rainfall recorded over the period of just 24 hrs on 26th of July has had a devastating impact on Mumbai and in particular the thousands who live in slums across the city and beyond.

The floods resulting from the heavy and continuous rains have greatly increased the vulnerabilities of slum dwelling people who already live in appalling conditions.

It is important to remember that some 80,000 families were rendered homeless when the MCMG and State Government demolished thousands of 'illegal' hutments across the city. These people were already in a disaster situation, living on streets or under makeshift plastic sheets on the fringes of their former settlements when the floods came.

TISS through its students and allliances with organizations in the field has been involved in relief work from Thursday, July 28, 2005. The relief work
conducted in Mandala, Rafique Nagar, Rahul Nagaar, Anna Bhau Saathe Nagar and Indira Nagar included: 
Need Assessment
. Construction of temporary shelters in the affected areas.
. Medical camps in the communities with free supplies of medicines.
. Counselling services.
. Documentation of losses and the kind and amount of supplies needed.
. Updates on prevailing situation in these communities to various agencies.

There has been a severe loss of life and property in the geographic proximity of the institute and hence TISS has decided to undertake immediate
relief work in the M ward. 

Areas of Intervention

Location Area Number of Affected Families
Suman Nagar Chembur 800 families
Bhim Chaya Nagar Govandi 300 families
Netaji Nagar Ghatkopar over 1000 families
Maharashtra Nagar Mankhurd over 1000 families
Jai Ambe Nagar Mankhurd 500 families
Padma Nagar Mankhurd 800 families
Mandala Mankhrud 1340 families

Major Issues / Immediate Needs:

Water Logging: There is a need to shift people whose houses are still water logged to safer sites.

Shelters: Most of the slum dwellers lived in temporary or sem-permanent shelters that have been washed away or rendered unlivable. It is vital to
provide people with temperory shelters to recoup as well as protect themselves from monsoon.

Food (Dry Rations): Most people lost their rations and utensils/stoves in the floods along with financial losses. There is an urgent need of dry
rations, fuel and cooking utensils. 

Health Concerns: The presence of large quantities of water as well as washing up of large quantities of sewage and animal carcasses in many places poses a serious epidemic hazard. Besides there is a high prevalence of flood related morbidity like cuts and bruises sustained to floating debris, fever
and other infections. There is dire need for both preventive as well as curative interventions. Vulnerable groups like small children, the aged, the
disabled, lactating and pregnant mothers need special care and attention. 

Loss of livelihoods: Thousands of people depended on plying small trades an home based work and the floods have damaged or washed away their tools and trade.

Loss of lives: In many cases families have suffered deaths and even lost their sole earning membes. The psycho-social and economic impacts of these
losses need to be addressed. 

Nature of Intervention - Strategy
A team of students had been on a pilot study of the affected areas on August 1, 2005 and based on the findings, following are immediate requirements.
. Medicines 
. Plastic sheets / linen
. Cooked food
. Clothes
. Safe drinking water
. Medium sized containers with lid to store medicines / food.

TISS has sent teams of doctors and social workers to the above mentioned communities. The teams will set up health camps in these communities where the doctors shall conduct basic medical checkup and provide the medicines. The social workers will provide counseling as well as distribuition of
relief material.

TISS has collaborated with the local community workers to conduct the relief work, who will carry out the work ahead.

Partners in the field:
YUVA - Youth for Unity and Voluntary Action Apnalaya
NAPM - National Alliance for Peoples' Movements

You can support through:
. Donations in kind
. Monetary donations
. Medical support - medicines, doctors to conduct health checkup

Contact Details
Mr Vijay Nagraj: 9224292382 / 25563289 Extn 542
Dr Srilatha Juvva: 982090660 / 25563289 Extn 314

Looking forward to your support.
Dr S Parasuraman
Tata Institute of Social Sciences