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Monday, August 29, 2005

Official Death Toll

The Maharashtra government has come up with final flood toll figures:
"Maharashtra government on Monday submitted to the Bombay high court a list of 1,493 people who died in the recent deluge in various parts of the state and due to various flood-related diseases.

The state government informed that a total of 1058 people died in deluge while 435 more lost their lives due to flood related diseases. Some 141 others were missing in the deluge. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has already filed an affidavit stating that 546 people died in the city, including 75 killed in landslide and 179 drowned in floods."

I find that figure extremely low considering the various real-life stories I have heard about the floods. Why does the government almost always give a lower estimate when clearly everyone knows that the numbers are way higher?

32 Comments:

Blogger English August said...

So the United States was hit with one of the biggest storms in half a century today. It resulted in only a handful of deaths even though the streets of a city of 450,000 - New Orleans were under 5 to 6 feet of water - the result of a well planned evacuation. Those who were left behind got shelter in a stadium. The governors of the two states hit the hardest with storm were at the forefront of emergency efforts - using the full power of media to warn their citizens.

Need I even compare with what happened in Bombay and how far we still need to go? And whatever should we do with our politicians?

Mon Aug 29, 08:53:00 PM GMT-7  
Blogger __nitinsen said...

I am in no way supporting the Mumbai government here, but I think 'english august' is not looking at this realistically.

The death toll in New Orleans is currently over 100 and still rising! For a city of only 450,000, that’s a much larger blow than the 1000+ who died in a state with a population over 20,000,000. Mumbai is covered with make-shift slums and dilapidated housing and yet isn’t it remarkable that, relatively speaking, so few people actually died?

Have you actually seen the news reports from New Orleans? Its been said that it would take at least 1 month to clear the flood water; there is no electricity, water supplies, telephone lines are down, dead bodies are floating around, there is wide-spread looting (I heard of no major looting incidents in Mumbai).....man this situation is as bad if not MUCH worse than anything Mumbai faced, where within a week it was pretty much business as usual. The fact that Mumbai got back on its feet so quickly, and with little or no help from the local government, shows how resilient the people of Mumbai are.

However, unlike New Orleans (one of America's most deprived cities), Mumbai is supposed to be India’s financial capital, and the government and people of Mumbai should not start feeling that everything is fine because such catastrophes are happening all over the world!

Wed Aug 31, 06:27:00 AM GMT-7  
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Anonymous Harini Calamur said...

i guess Patrix the reason is that a lot of homeless people died. and no one really knows how many of them there are.
india is not very 'documentation' concsious when it comes to these kind of things. you find a dead body - and most likely it is burnt before you can say post mortem.
Also, with both the media and those who lived through the floods - there was this entire thing of 'chinese whispers' happening. one body became 10, i carcass became 100. 30 deaths became an epidimic and so on. There was a lot of irresponsible reporting.
As a result we have a government source that we perceive as too low (it may actually be accurate) and a press source that is too high. And the difference between the two is too great to even split the differnce

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