FLOODS CREATE HAVOC IN MUMBAI CITY-extract from statement by National Alliance of Peoples Movements (NAPM)

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. n Anna Bhau Sathe Nagar, slum dwellers rehabilitated nearly supported the families who had to take esort 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.

(details of how to contribute to relief work undertaken by NAPM is given in the first section- Ed)