People walk through flooded street during heavy rain showers in Mumbai, Aug. 29. (Shashank Parade/PTI)
Heavy rains have resulted in flooding for most of the Indian sub-continent and the situation is anywhere from bad to critical with hundreds of thousands of people taking shelter in relief camps. Days after heavy rains virtually clogged Mumbai, angry citizens and activists have vented their ire at the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai for “shoddy” civic work that they believe was responsible for submergence of rail tracks and streets. Lending a helping hand in the flood relief operations in India, Nepal and Bangladesh, Google has committed $1 million to NGOs Goonj and Save the Children.
UP flood toll touches 104; 1 killed in landslide in Uttarakhand. Uttar Pradesh’s flood woes continue as the toll rose to 104, at the time of writing this report, even as heavy rains triggered a landslide in Uttarakhand leading to the death of one person.
The flood situation in Assam and Bihar improved significantly.
In the national capital, heavy rains brought the mercury down even as traffic was thrown out of gear and water-logging was reported at several places.
In Uttarakhand, landslide triggered by heavy rain claimed a life in Chamoli district in the early hours when a man was hit by rubble falling from the hillside at Pathiyaldhar basti.
In Uttar Pradesh, 2.8 million people are affected as raging waters of the rivers emanating from Nepal caused havoc in vast swathes of land.
Citing a report compiled till Aug. 30, the state relief commissioner’s office said around three hundred thousand people have taken shelter in relief camps in the affected districts of eastern parts of the state.
Army choppers, NDRF and PAC (flood) personnel continued relief and rescue operations round the clock in the severely affected areas of the flood-hit districts of the state.
In Assam, the flood situation improved although nearly 61,000 people are still affected by the calamity across five districts in the state.
The total number of people who lost their lives in this year’s flood-related incidents in Assam went up to 158, including eight in Guwahati.
As per the report, Morigaon is the worst-affected with 30,500 people hit, followed by Nagaon with nearly 28,000 people affected in the deluge.
The flood situation in Bihar improved further with no fresh reports of any causality from flooded regions of the state.
With water receding in several places, people are returning to their homes with the number of relief camps dropping to 107 from 116, a disaster management department release said.
The death toll in Bihar floods was 514, while 17.1 million people, spread over 19 districts, were affected by the floods, it said.
Heavy to very heavy rainfall in all districts of sub-Himalayan West Bengal has resulted in flooding of low-lying areas.
After torrential rains brought life to a standstill in Mumbai, however the city heaved a sigh of relief as the financial capital recorded no major rains, Aug. 31.
Mumbaikars hold Civic Body Responsible for Rain Woes. Days after heavy rains virtually clogged Mumbai, angry citizens and activists have vented their ire at the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) for “shoddy” civic work that they believe was responsible for submergence of rail tracks and streets.
The 331.4 mm rainfall on Aug. 29, the heaviest since the July 26, 2005, record of 944 mm, had caused the worst havoc in decades in the city.
The torrential rain plunged the megalopolis into chaos as water swamped homes, and submerged roads and railway tracks, leaving thousands of people stranded at various places.
Many citizens who battled water-logging and waded through waist-deep water to reach their destinations due to torrential downpours, told PTI that the country’s richest civic body has failed them.
Among other issues, desilting of nallahs is most talked about though the MCGM claims it had cleaned them ahead of the monsoon and spent crores for the purpose.
The MCGM has been ruled by the Shiv Sena for over two decades.
“The need of the day is fixing the accountability. The BMC (alternate name for MCGM) and its rulers have not learnt any lesson from similar such events in the past. They are trying to pass the buck on someone. Disciplinary action should be taken against those responsible for water-logging and other civic woes,” housing activist Vinod Sampat said.
Former journalist and Padma Shri awardee Sucheta Dalal said it was high time for the government to do away with the haphazard development and to work for an ecologically balanced city.
Journalist-turned-activist S. Balakrishnan said the problem was “deep rooted” and the BMC has failed to get its act together even after the intervention of the high court.
“Since the last several months, the Bombay High Court, which has stayed all fresh constructions, is waiting for a report from the BMC on its action plan for tackling the huge problem of garbage in the city. Even the HC is unable to move the BMC into action,” he said.
Balakrishnan said the BMC had not formulated its response yet. He said the BJP, a junior partner of the Sena in the BMC, too is responsible for the civic woes as the city municipal commissioner was handpicked by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.
IITian Shirish Sukhtame, a former president of the Practicing Engineers Architects and Town Planers Association (PEATA), said each nallah has become an “underground dumping station”. He alleged that corruption in desilting work was the root cause of the problems like water-logging and flooding of the rail tracks.
“I fail to understand why desilting of drains has to be an annual affair? Why can’t they be cleaned and desilted by the BMC regularly? Their cleaning happens only once a year, and that too before the monsoon. Nobody knows how much silt is removed and where is it dumped. Desilting has become only an eyewash, thanks to the deep-rooted corruption prevailing in the system,” he alleged.
A renowned gastroenterologist of Bombay Hospital, Dr. Deepak Amrapurkar, 58, went missing from near the Elphinstone Road station. An eyewitness had claimed that the doctor fell into in a manhole in a flooded street, Aug. 29.
Google Commits $1 Million to Flood Relief Ops in India, Nepal, Bangladesh. Lending a helping hand in the flood relief operations in India, Nepal and Bangladesh, Google has committed $1 million to NGOs Goonj and Save the Children.
While Save the Children is responding to the floods in all three countries, with the aim to reach a total of 160,000 people, Goonj aims to help 75,000 families in nine affected states in India, according to Google.
Save the Children’s efforts include providing food and livelihood support, temporary shelter materials for those most in need, hygiene items, and water source restoration, while also focusing on setting up child-friendly spaces where children can gain access to educational materials.
Goonj’s relief efforts include providing families with food, mats, blankets and hygiene items. In the long term, it aims to help rebuild and revive community structures such as roads, bridges and schools.
Apart from offering funds to the NGOs, Google’s crisis response team has also activated SOS alerts in the three countries.
“These alerts include the latest news about the floods, an approximate map of the affected area, and local updates from Twitter and other resources.
“Our thoughts are with the people of the region,” Rajan Anandan, vice president-Google for Southeast Asia and India, said.