August 08, 2005

Floods in Mumbai: Tata Group plans relief measures

Mumbai has suffered deeply in the heavy rains and the ensuing floods that took place on July 26, 2005. Nearly 1,000 people lost their lives even as goods and property were damaged beyond repair. Deeply affected by the calamity and the toll it took, the Tata Group entrusted The Sir Dorabji Tata Trust (SDTT) and a core group of Tata companies based in Mumbai with the task of conducting relief and rehabilitation activities in the affected areas.

Accordingly, a meeting was convened on August 2 o discuss immediate relief measures and a plan of action. Representatives from the BMC and the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) also attended the meeting. The SDTT will partner with BMC and TISS to conduct the relief activities. TISS will work in M Ward and Mumbra; the SDTT will work in L Ward. These areas were chosen as they have been severely affected and very few NGOs are working there.

The team has already sent Tata Power a list of the material required for emergency relief. This material includes clothes, toiletries, household kits (including utensils, stoves, etc), plastic sheets and food rations, essential medicines and water purification tablets for three lakh families. Some of the medicines have already been received. Indian Hotels has been providing cooked food in certain areas and has also distributed food rations in affected areas.

Having assessed the extent of the damage, the team swung into action by setting up relief centres in the affected areas. The local organisations that have offered to help at the relief centre are Don Bosco Technical School, Unati, Mohalla Committee, Majlis and the Department of Sociology, University of Mumbai.

The priorities of the team are:

  • Ensuring that cooperatives clean building water tanks;
  • Ensuring that potable water is provided at all government institutions, including schools and health posts;
  • Providing chlorine tablets to families and educating them on the use of the tablets;
  • Identifying the needs of the most affected communities.

Three ambulances were used as mobile health clinics and information centres to spread information on disease prevention. Twenty-two employees from Tata Power volunteered to join the mobile clinics and run the relief centre.

The team’s future plans include cleaning schools to assure children of a safe environment. School children will be granted relief, after the need assessment is completed by the teachers and members of the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan.Youth from the community will be mobilised to clear out the garbage. Since the water is still muddy in many places, the team will consider setting up a filtration plant.