|Floods >> Work done by NGOs >> Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS)|
The Mumbai Floods and the Intervention of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences:
In the wake of the unprecedented
rains and the consequent floods of 26th and
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
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;
Amplifying urgent relief material requirements of CBOs,
NGOs and others working in the field and facilitating their sourcing and
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
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.
List of Areas in Which TISS Undertook Relief Work
Table 2: Summary of Relief Materials Received and Disbursed by TISS
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:
. 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.
. Plastic sheets / linen
. Cooked food
. 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
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
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