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Friday, July 29, 2005

Words and pictures from Mumbai

This post was first put up on India Uncut, and I'm mirroring it here because further news updates will take place on this blog. Please also visit Mumbai Help, an information resource for times such as this. If you would like to become a contributor to this blog, please email me or Peter Griffin (zigzackly AT gmail DOT com).

Of the many startling pictures of the devastation caused by the rain in Mumbai, this and this are worth looking at. They are part of a small slideshow put together by Rediff here.

Rediff has also collected first-person accounts from many people across Mumbai. Pictures on TV show people actually swimming through the water in some parts of Mumbai, as well as some makeshift boats.

Meanwhile, a fire has broken out on an ONGC oil platform near Mumbai, and rescue operations are on.

Update: More pictures here.

Update 2: The state government has set up a 24-hour helpline. The numbers are 22027990 and 22793551. (Numbers via Mumbai Mirror's useful information page.)

Update 3: Here are the latest reports from the Times of India, Mid Day, the Indian Express, and the Telegraph. Rediff has a whole bunch of stories on it as well.

Update 4: Uma has more here and here.

Update 5: One friend can't get out of Mumbai and another can't get in. Sonia has vivid accounts of being stuck in a plane, being deplaned and then another long wait in a hotel lobby before somehow managing to make it back home. Meanwhile, Rahul battles his way through the Konkan region of Maharashtra, which is quite as badly hit.

Update 6: "Mumbai limping back to normalcy," reports Rediff. The airport is operational again, reports Mid Day. The Times of India reports that the India Meteorological Department has warned that Gujarat may now face similar downpours. (NDTV reports that those rains have already begun.)

Update 7: Gaurav Sabnis hears water outside his door even though he lives on the fifth floor. He looks out through the window and finds himself "in the middle of a sea." He manages to get out, and finds "bloated carcasses of buffaloes" on the highway. Read his accounts here and here.

Update 8: Ravikiran Rao, who had many of us worried, blogs about his experience in the rain, and how the road that led to his home simply got "washed away". It's a vivid account. Meanwhile, the government dispels rumours of a tsunami hitting Mumbai, and Arun Simha constructs a tongue-in-cheek narrative of what will happen next, part of which stars Ravikiran.

NDTV has an update on Thane, and things look bad in Ahmedabad. Here's the latest update on the ONGC fire, and here's an estimate of the economic costs of the incident. Also, Amardeep Singh, guest-blogging on Sepia Mutiny, rounds up events and starts an interesting discussion. And Reuben Abraham points out that Mumbai received more rainfall on Tuesday than London does in a year.

Update 9: Anup examines how "different infrastructure systems including drainage, power, telephones, transportation collapsed in a short amount of time." And Rashmi Bansal expresses her outrage.

Update 10 (July 29): Uma is rightly aghast that our largest newspaper has lost all sense of proportion. The Times of India behaves as if the worst part about the rains was that some people couldn't get a copy of ToI, and quotes Ajit Wadekar as saying: "Only when I didn't get the Times of India on Wednesday morning did I really realise the full fury of the rains." Other luminaries chip in with similar comments, no doubt not wishing to endanger their Page 3 coverage.

Meanwhile, 16 people died in a stampede caused not by the ToI turning up at a nearby newsstand, but by rumours of a tsunami. And bodies are still being excavated from Kalina, one of the worst-hit areas. And since we're obsessed with celebrities, the Indian Express gives us an account of what some of our favourite people were up to.

Mumbai Mirror tells us about the city's disaster management plan, created in 2003 with the help of the World Bank but not implemented when disaster struck. It also takes us through the events that led to Mumbai High catching fire. And Jitendra Mohan recounts his own experience of being part of a much smaller fire on a different platform.

Update 11: AFP reports that the latest death toll in Maharashtra is 900, as the meteorological department warns that more rains are expected to strike Maharashtra. Maharashtra's chief minister has defended his administration against charges of ineptitude. Meanwhile, PTI has reported that a dance-bar owner begun the rumours of a dam burst and a tsunami, that led to a stampede and many deaths. "[T]hree bar girls [and] two eunuchs" were also allegedly involved.

Gaurav is collating incidents of generosity by Mumbaikars here. Jitendra has pics of Bombay High North: before, and after (here, here, here and here.) And Rediff has collected a bunch of riveting first-person accounts here. Also, Marc Robinson describes his trauma of having to wade home after a pedicure and manicure. (Link via Sonia.)

Update 12: This is the last update I shall post here. For more on this tragedy, please check Mumbai Help, a CollaBlog started by Peter Griffin and Sunil Nair. That will be constantly updated with news and lists of resources.

In case you're interested, my own account of the rains is here.

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