An unprecedented 316 mm of rain with strong gushing winds and high tide in the Arabian Sea in twelve hours paralysed the life in the Metropolitan city of Mumbai. Entire Maharashtra was lashed with heavy rainfall. It was initially thought as a "cloudburst", but it fell short of the definition of cloudburst.
The rains brought Mumbai to its knees, bringing back the nightmare of its worst ever deluge twelve years earlier. The pouring rain crippled rail services, stranded thousands of motorists and in undated low lying areas. What started as a drizzle in the early hours developed into unusual ferocity causing panic all over the city.
The city as the day progressed saw the lifeline of the city, the railways completely paralysed. Services were suspended as most of the stations were water logged. There were major traffic snarls as the city's highways and main roads were severely congested. Motorists either had to leave the vehicles on the way as they had stopped moving due to water damaging the circuit or took 7-8 hours to commute from their office to home.
A river in the suburbs flooded homes, and washed away the cars. As the ten day Ganesh festival was on, the muddy waters of the river reaching 5-6 feet high, washed away the Ganesh idol after breaking the wall. The biggest Municipal hospital, The King Edward Memorial Hospital's wards were totally flooded. The hospital authorities shifted the patients to higher floors. An eminent doctor, a lawyer and four others fell victims to the open drains. Their bodies were sadly found 2 days later miles away.
But the "never say die" spirit of the Mumbaites came to the fore once again. True to the spirit of secularism, temples, churches, mosques, and gurudwaras opened their gates to offer shelter to the stranded people. Food, snacks, water, medicines were supplied at every nook and corner of the city. As the downpour ceased the next day the city as usual limped back to life once again.
This article was written by Rekha Sali & Sheela Kakde from AIWC, Mumbai branch. AIWC is a member organisation of GenderCC. All India Women’s Conference (AIWC) was founded in 1927. It is an organisation dedicated to the upliftment and betterment of women and children. It has grown and spread all over India over the years.
If you are interested in further information on gender related consequences of this year's mansoon, we would recommend the article "After Mumbai Floods, the Work of Rebuilding Family Life Falls to Women". It explains more about the effects of the disastrous floods and how they are even worse for women. Since Mumbai's floodings have interfered with sanitation, access to clean water, and have caused immense damage to many homes, women will have to struggle to keep up domestic life for their families. What's more, these effects of the floods will impact women long after men and boys have gone back to work and school.