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1.1 Abstract
India has been traditionally vulnerable to natural disaster on account of its unique geo-climate
conditions. Floods, droughts, cyclones, earthquakes, and landslides have been a recurrent
phenomenon. About 60% of the landmass is prone to earthquake of various intensities;
Over 40 million hectares is prone to floods; about 8 % of total area is prone to cyclones and 68%
of the areas is susceptible to drought. In the decade 1990-2000, an average of about 4344 people
lost their lives about 30 million people were affected by disaster every year. The loss in terms of
private, community and public assets has been astronomical. At the global level, there has been
considerable concern over natural disaster. Even as substantial scientific and material progress is
made, the loss of life and property due to disaster has not decreased. In fact human toll and
economic losses have mounted. It was in this background that the UN general assembly in 1989
declared 1990-2000 as the International decade of natural disaster reduction with the objective to
reduce loss of lives and property and restrict socioeconomic damage through concerted
international action. The Government of India have adopted mitigation and prevention as
essential components of their development strategies. The Tenth Five Year Plan documents have
a detailed chapter on Disaster Management. The plan emphasizes the fact that development
cannot be sustainable without mitigation being built into development process. Each State is
supposed to prepare a plan scheme for disaster mitigation in accordance with the approach
outlined in the plan. In brief, mitigation is being institutionalized into development planning. The
Finance Commission makes recommendation with regard to devolution of funds between Central
Government and State Government as also outlays for relief and rehabilitation. The Government
of India have issued guidelines that where there is a self of projects, projects addressing
mitigation with be given priority. It has also been mandated that each projects in a hazard prone
area will have disaster prevention/mitigation as a term of reference and the project documents
has to reflect as to how project addresses that term of reference. In the sections are discussed the
measures shortcoming, measures taken for the mitigation of the disaster.

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1.2 Introduction

India has been traditionally vulnerable to natural disasters on account of its unique geo-climatic
conditions. Floods, droughts, cyclones, earthquakes and landslides have been a recurrent
phenomena. About 60% of the landmass is prone to earthquakes of various intensities; over 40
million hectares is prone to floods; about 8% of the total area is prone to cyclones and 68% of
the area is susceptible to drought. In the decade 1990-2000, an average of about 4344 people lost
their lives and about 30 million people were affected by disasters every year. The loss in terms of
private, community and public assets has been destroyed.

At the global level, there has been considerable concern over natural disasters. Even as
substantial scientific and material progress is made, the loss of lives and property due to disasters
has not decreased. In fact, the human toll and economic losses have mounted. It was in this
background that the United Nations General Assembly, in 1989, declared the decade 1990-2000
as the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction with the objective to reduce loss of
lives and property and restrict socio-economic damage through concerted International action,
especially in developing countries.

The super cyclone in Orissa in October, 1999 and the Bhuj earthquake in Gujarat in January,
2001 underscored the need to adopt a multi-dimensional endeavour involving diverse scientific,
engineering, financial and social processes; the need to adopt multi-disciplinary and multi
sectoral approach and incorporation of risk reduction in the developmental plans and strategies.

Over the past couple of years, the Government of India have brought about a paradigm shift in
the approach to disaster management. The new approach proceeds from the conviction that
development cannot be sustainable unless disaster mitigation is built into the development
process. Another corner stone of the approach is that mitigation has to be multi-disciplinary
spanning across all sectors of development. The new policy also emanates from the belief that
Investments in mitigation are much more cost effective than expenditure on relief and

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Disaster management occupies an important place in this countrys policy framework as it is the
poor and the under-privileged who are worst affected on account of calamities/disasters.

The steps being taken by the Government emanate from the approach outlined above. The
approach has been translated into a National Disaster Framework [a roadmap] covering
institutional mechanisms, disaster prevention strategy, early warning system, disaster mitigation,
preparedness and response and human resource development. The expected inputs, areas of
intervention and agencies to be involved at the National, State and district levels have been
identified and listed in the roadmap. This roadmap has been shared with all the State
Governments and Union Territory Administrations. Ministries and Departments of Government
of India, and the State Governments/UT Administrations have been advised to develop their
respective roadmaps taking the national roadmap as a broad guideline. There is, therefore, now a
common strategy underpinning the action being taken by all the participating.

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1.3 What is a disaster?

A disaster is a sudden, calamitous event that seriously disrupts the functioning of a community
or society and causes human, material, and economic or environmental losses that exceed the
communitys or societys ability to cope using its own resources. Though often caused by nature,
disasters can have human origins

A disaster is a natural or man-made (or technological) hazard resulting in an event of substantial

extent causing significant physical damage or destruction, loss of life, or drastic change to
the environment. A disaster can biostensively defined as any tragic event stemming from events
such as earthquakes, floods, catastrophic accidents, fires, or explosions. It is a phenomenon that
can cause damage to life and property and destroy the economic, social and cultural life of

In contemporary academia, disasters are seen as the consequence of inappropriately managed

risk. These risks are the product of a combination of both hazard/s and vulnerability. Hazards that
strike in areas with low vulnerability will never become disasters, as is the case in uninhabited

Developing countries suffer the greatest costs when a disaster hits more than 95 percent of all
deaths caused by disasters occur in developing countries, and losses due to natural disasters are
20 times greater (as a percentage of GDP) in developing countries than in industrialized

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1.4 Types of Disasters

There is no country that is immune from disaster, though vulnerability to disaster varies. There
are four main types of disaster.

Natural disasters. These disasters include floods, hurricanes, earthquakes and volcano
eruptions that can have immediate impacts on human health, as well as secondary impacts
causing further death and suffering from floods causing landslides, earthquakes resulting in
fires, tsunamis causing widespread flooding and typhoons sinking ferries,

Manmade or Technological disasters. Disasters also can be caused by humans.

Hazardous materials emergencies include chemical spills and groundwater contamination.
Workplace fires are more common and can cause significant property damage and loss of
life. Communities are also vulnerable to threats posed by extremist groups who use violence
against both people and property. High-risk targets include military and civilian government
facilities, international airports, large cities and high-profile landmarks. Cyber-terrorism
involves attacks against computers and networks done to intimidate or coerce a government
or its people for political or social objectives.

Environmental emergencies. These emergencies include technological or industrial
accidents, usually involving hazardous material, and occur where these materials are
produced, used or transported. Large forest fires are generally included in this definition
because they tend to be caused by humans.
Complex emergencies. These emergencies involve a break-down of authority, looting
and attacks on strategic installations. Complex emergencies include conflict situations and
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Pandemic emergencies. These emergencies involve a sudden onset of a contagious
disease that affects health but also disrupts services and businesses, bringing economic and
social costs.

2.1 Floods in Mumbai 26th July 2005

The Mumbai floods of 2005 refers to the flooding of many parts of the Indian
metropolis Mumbai, a city located on the coast of the Arabian Sea, on the western coast of India,
in which at least 5,000 people died. It occurred just one month after similar flooding in Gujarat.
The term 26 July, now is, in context always used for the day when the city of Mumbai came to a

Large numbers of people were stranded on the road, lost their homes, and many walked for long
distances back home from work that evening. The floods were caused by the eighth heaviest ever
recorded 24-hour rainfall figure of 994 mm (39.1 inches) which lashed the metropolis on 26 July
2005, and intermittently continued for the next day. 644 mm (25.4 inches) was received within
the 12-hr period between 8am and 8pm. Torrential rainfall continued for the next week. The
highest 24-hour period in India was 1,168 mm (46.0 inches) in Aminidivi in the Union
Territory of Lakshadweep on 6 May 2004 although some reports suggest that it was a new Indian
record. The previous record high rainfall in a 24-hour period for Mumbai was 575 mm
(22.6 inches) in 1974.

Other places to be severely affected were Raigad, Chiplun, Khed, Ratnagiri and Kalyan in
Maharashtra and the southern state of Goa.

The rains slackened between the 28 July and 30 July but picked up in
intensity on July 31. The Maharashtra state government declared 27 and 28
as a state holiday for the affected regions. The government also ordered all
schools in the affected areas to close on August 1 and August 2.

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Every year, numerous cities from around the world endure injuries, property
damages and other significant economic losses, as a result of natural disasters
including earthquakes, floods and heavy rains. The losses resulting from these
disasters cannot be solely attributed to their repeated occurrence. Alternatively,
they can be credited to numerous other factors. Large metropolitan cities
throughout the world attract millions of people who are on a look out for better job
opportunities and a better life-style. These cities are hubs of various revenue
generating sectors such as commerce, government, communication and transport
and require the support of a complex network of infrastructure, including power
supply, telecommunications, roadways, railways, airways and civic amenities such
as water supply and drainage systems. Often, this infrastructure ages beyond the
point of reliability, is left unattended and is therefore, incapable of catering to the
ever-increasing needs of the citys growing population. This infrastructure is
thereby, highly vulnerable to major breakdowns resulting from natural disasters like
floods and its breakdown translates into a massive blow to the functioning of all its
revenue generating sectors. Mumbai is one such city, which largely depends on its
infrastructure for its normal functioning.
As the countrys economic core, Mumbai has been witnessing a constant rise in its
population, resulting in a brisk and haphazard development of the city. The
physical infrastructure to support the citys economy exists, but it has been
designed for few and is used by many; it is usually stressed. Moreover, the dense
and sometimes, organic patterns of the citys development are incapable of
accommodating the extensions in the infrastructure. Intensive mixed land use is a
characteristic of the city of Mumbai. Furthermore, the governments drive to
accommodate the growth of the city overrides issues, such as improving the
infrastructure and formulating natural disaster management plans, to deal with the
citys current climatic scenario and rapid development.
This negligence on the governments part has reflected on the city in the form of
the massive destruction caused by the inundation in 2005 and 2006. The city has
witnessed numerous floods in the past. Until a few years back, the citizens
associated these floods with a severe disruption and suspension of the citys train
services (Adjoining figure) on an average of twice a year, during the monsoon. The
event would lead to a shutdown of the offices, businesses and educational
institutions throughout the city. However, the effects of these floods have never

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been alarming and devastating enough for the city authorities to plan preventive
and relief measures.
But, the heavy rainfall of 26th July 2005 and the inundation that occurred in 2005
and 2006 was something that the city had least expected. The weather observatory
at Santa Cruz in North Mumbai recorded a rainfall of 944 mm. in a brief time span of
24 hours. However, the Colaba observatory, at Mumbai's southern tip, recorded
barely 73 mm of rainfall in the same period. Figure 14 shows the flood prone areas
of Mumbai. However, the rainfall over Vihar Lake was 1050 mm, which was even
higher than in Santa Cruz. About five years ago, in July 2000, Mumbai had recorded
exceptionally heavy rains with Thane recording 45mm, Santa Cruz 37mm and
Colaba 250 mm of downpour. But the consequences were not as disastrous as the
ones that followed the floods of 2005 and 2006. This goes to show that it was not so
much of the rainfall, but the inundation, that was unprecedented. Never before had
the metropolis experienced anything like this.
The floods and the Offshore Vortex (an unusual meteorological phenomenon)
resulted in about 1000 deaths and misplaced about 100 people. It forced more than
52000 people to evacuate their
dwellings and caused the city a
financial loss of nearly US $1Billion. Reports, quoting
the government officials, stated that these floods were
the worst to hit the city in the
past 100 years. Moreover, the high
tides that coupled with the torrential
rainfall at its highest intensity, in
this sea-facing city, further compounded
this disaster.
The deluge came unannounced. Despite moderate warnings from the weather
bureau, the rain wreaked havoc. This is because the government and the citizens
failed to gauge the gravity of the warnings announcing the impending heavy rains
and high tide. They mistook it to be one of the seasonal notices given out by the
meteorological department. But in reality, the rains of 2005 brought in the
devastating floods that will continue to haunt the people of Mumbai for the rest of
their lives. All of the citys means of communications such as the phone lines and
power supply collapsed, thus cutting off the city from the rest of the world. The

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citys public transport came to a grinding halt, within hours of the citys flooding;
the airports flooded, resulting in the cancellation or delay of flights. Also, most of
the citys arterial roads such as the LBS road (Adjoing figure), the S.V. Road and
major highways, such as the Western Express Highway and the Eastern Express
highway in the suburbs were severely affected due to water logging and traffic
jams, caused by a mass vehicle breakdown in the floods. The event left thousands
of people stranded in the buses, trains and cars. A lot of deaths occurred when
people, hoping for the floods to
recede, stayed put in their cars and
were choked up when their
vehicles submerged in the steadily
rising levels of the floods. The
death toll also rose when those
marooned in their work places,
made way for their homes and
were carried away by the high
currents of the floods. Moreover, the termination of the citys main power supply
rendered the sewage pumps in the city dysfunctional. The citys municipal
authorities were thus compelled to open out its storm water drains to let out the
storm water. However, this adversely resulted in the drowning of a number of
people into those drains. The citys main storm water drain, Mithi River overflowed
and spilled out the sewage it is dumped with and this gave rise to a host of
epidemics in the following days. To add to this plight, the heavy rains caused
landslides in the hilly areas in the north-west part of the city that had been quarried
to accommodate future developments. It claimed the lives of almost 65 people and
left more than a hundred, homeless. The floods damaged nearly 50,000 residential
structures and close to 40,000 commercial establishments. It is a loss that the city
would probably never be able to recover from.
And the bad news is that, this is not just a unique event that the city can
conveniently forget about. According to all the responsible predictions, flooding will
get worse than before in the coming future. This means that Mumbai can expect to
have similar or even worse flooding in the coming years. This fact holds true for
every country and city in the world that bears geographical resemblance to
Mumbai. Inevitably, more and more existing settlements in the flood plains will be

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frequently inundated. This would cause more disturbances in the citys functioning
and a loss of property and life. Thus, it is extremely critical for flood prone areas to
come up with a fool proof plan to deal with this wicked disaster. The plan should
essentially include pre-flood prevention strategies as well as post-flood mitigation
strategies, some of which havent been executed in such cases in the past.
However, to come up with almost perfect strategies, it is extremely essential to
examine the most probable factors that led to this catastrophe, which is what this
study aims to achieve in the next chapter. A review of these causes can help this
research in devising solutions that meet the requirements of the issues and their

3.1 Beginning:-

The 2005 monsoon proved to be extremely erratic for Maharashtra. In the beginning, a serious
deficiency of rainfall, particularly in the western Vidarbha and Marathwada, created a drought-
like situation with shortage of drinking water and fodder. The situation changed dramatically in
the course of a week from July 21, when unusually heavy rains lashed the coastal areas of
Konkan and Western Ghats. It caused extensive flooding in Raigad and Ratnagiri districts,
with many towns and villages under waters. On July 26, when the highest ever rainfall recorded
in the last 100 years in the country battered the sub-urban Mumbai and Thane, Maharashtra
experienced one of the worst floods in its history.

The downpour was heavy in other parts of the state too, particularly in Nanded and Parbhani.
Soon the Godavari was in space, flooding a large number of towns and villages. No sooner did

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the flooding recede in Konkan and Marathwada, the release of water from the Koyana and
Ujani dams flooded Sangli, Kolhapur, and Solapur districts

Excessive Rainfall and Flash Flooding:-

Within a period of 18 hours, there was a precipitation of 944 mm. in Mumbai sub-urban area, a
phenomenon which never occurred before. Thane district also received more than 700 mm. of
rains in a single day. The exceptional rainfall coincided with high tide, which brought a large
area in Mumbai and Thane under massive inundation.

Mumbai: It was a case of urban flash flooding. Water levels rose rapidly within three-four hours,
submerging the roads and railway tracks. The traffic was completely immobilized. All the low-
lying areas in the city were heavily flooded. The poor who lived in Jhuggis in these areas were
the worst victims. It also hit the middle and upper class segments. All the ground floor flats were
under water, and the people lost all their possessionselectronic goods, furniture, clothes and

Flooding crippled the basic services and lifelines in the city. There was no electricity in Mumbai
sub-urban and Thane districts. As the telephone exchanges came under water, the phones stopped
working. Mobile phones were also not accessible. As a result, the people who were stranded
could not access information, and were subjected to terrible hardship.

The Western and Central Railways did not run their local services for a number of days. All the
long-distance trains run by the Central Railways were cancelled. The tracks on the Konkan
Railways were badly damaged, and it took many days before the 3 trains could run again on
these tracks. The national and international flights at the Sahar and Santacruz were disrupted
for a number of days.

Thane: In Thane district, the flooding affected all the urban centers. Kalyan, Dombivali,
Ambarnath, Ulhasnagar, and Bhiwandi, which were part of the urban agglomeration, were
under flood waters. Heavy rainfall in the catchment area filled up almost all the reservoirs in
Thane district. The release of water from these reservoirs caused the water levels to rise further

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and aggravate the flooding. Despite a respite from the rains, the water level in these towns did
not reduce.

Damages and Losses:-

The Government had commenced an assessment of damages and losses caused by floods. The
details of these damages and losses were being compiled at the district-level. All the departments
had also been directed to report their losses and damages.

In agriculture sector, approximately 5.5 lakh hectares of land had suffered crop losses. Almost
the entire Kharif crop in the Konkan region had been destroyed by the flooding. The loss to the
sugarcane crop in western Maharashtra was also extensive, which had a major impact on the
production of local sugar mills.

More than 20,000 hectares of land had become waste due to the top soil having been washed
away, which would require considerable investment for being reclaimed. Farmers could not re-
sow their crops in the entire region.

Cattle Losses:
The total number of cattle losses in the floods is 15,321.

People had lost their houses in large numbers.

District Houses Damaged -Full Cost (in lakhs)

Mumbai 2 1 0 0

Infrastructure and Public Utilities:

Floods had caused massive losses to the infrastructure and public utilities. In the education
sector, more than 20,000 classrooms had been damaged, and 97 school buildings had collapsed.
About 437 Primary Health Centers, rural hospitals, and residential premises for health personnel
had been damaged by flooding.

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The Public Works Department estimated that it would require Rs. 1,200 crores for repairing
roads and bridges damaged by flooding. The Maharashtra State Electricity Board has suffered
huge losses5,667 of its transformers were affected, 12 high-tension towers fell and 14 small
distribution stations were flooded. Water supply schemes in both the urban and rural sectors have
suffered extensive damages.

Trade and Commerce:

The most extensive loss had been suffered by the trade and commerce sector. A large number of
shops, commercial establishments, and warehouses had suffered heavy losses due to flooding.
The Indian Merchants Chamber had pegged these losses at Rs. 5,000 crores.

The financial cost of floods was unprecedented and these floods caused a stoppage of entire
commercial, trading, and industrial activity for days. Preliminary indications indicate that the
floods caused a direct loss of about Rs. 450 crores (80 million or US$100 million). The
financial impacts of the floods were manifested in a variety of ways:

The banking transactions across the counters were adversely affected and many branches
and commercial establishments were unable to function from late evening of 26 July
2005. The state government declared the 27th (and later, 28th) of July as a public
holiday. ATM networks of several banks, which included the State Bank of India, the
nation's largest national bank; ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, and several foreign banks
like Citibank and HSBC, stopped functioning from the afternoon of 26 July 2005 at all
the centers of Mumbai.

ATM transactions could not be carried out in several parts of India on 26 July 2005 or 27
July 2005 due to failure of the connectivity with their central systems located in Mumbai.

The Bombay Stock Exchange and the National Stock Exchange of India, the
premier stock exchanges of India could function only partially. As most of the trading

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are e-Trading, trading terminals of the brokerage houses across the country remained
largely inoperative. Ironically, in partial trading, the Sensex, India's most tracked equity
index closed at an all time high of 7605.03 on 27 July 2005. The Exchanges, however,
remained closed for the following day.

3.2 Effect on Mumbais links to rest of the world:-

For the first time ever, Mumbai's domestic and international airports
(including Chatrapati Shivaji International Airport, Sahar and Juhu aerodrome) were shut
for more than 30 hours due to heavy flooding of the runways and extremely poor
visibility. Over 700 flights were cancelled or delayed. The airports reopened on the
morning of 28 July 2005. Rediff. Within 24 hours of the airports becoming operational,
there were 185 departures and 184 arrivals, including international flights. Again from
early morning of 31 July, with increase in water logging of the runways and different
parts of Mumbai, most of the flights were indefinitely cancelled.

Rail links were disrupted, and reports on late evening of 30 July indicated cancellation of
several long distance trains up to 6 August, 2005.

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The Mumbai-Pune Expressway, which witnessed a number of landslides, was closed the
first time ever in its history, for 24 hours.

According to the Hindustan Times, an unprecedented 5 million mobile and 2.3

million MTNL landline users were hit for over four hours.

According to the .in registrar (personal communication), the .in DNS servers in Mumbai had to
be reconfigured because the servers were not operational.

Transport stats

52 local trains damaged

37,000 autorickshaws spoilt

4,000 taxis

900 BEST buses damaged

10,000 trucks and tempos grounded

3.3 Rescue and Evacuation:-

The Government mounted a large-scale rescue and evacuation operation in all the areas affected
by floods. It deployed the Army, Air Force and Navy for the search and rescue operations. A
large number of boats were deployed by both the Army and Navy for rescuing people in all the
districts including Mumbai.

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In many districts, like Sangli and Kolhapur, the naval boats were transported by the IAF
aircrafts and helicopters. About six army columns were deployed in these districts for the rescue
operations. The IAF planes and helicopters were used for dropping food packets.

Further, the Government requisitioned a huge number of buses and trucks for evacuating people
from marooned villages. About 5.5 lakh people were evacuated to safer places. The food and
drinking water for all the evacuated people were arranged with the help of NGOs and other local

About 1.94 lakh people were in camps, and the government was providing foodgrains for all the
community kitchens being run for these camps. The Government also provided free of cost
foodgrains to all the people affected by the floods.

Long-term Vulnerability Reduction:-

In the wake of flooding, the Government decided to set up a Fact Finding Committee of experts
to look into the causes of flooding. The committee undertook to study all the factors which
contributed to flooding in the city.

Further, the city has become extremely vulnerable due to a large number of people living in huts
in low-lying areas, particularly in the bed of Mithi river. The Government set up a Mithi River
Development Authority to undertake removal of encroachment upon this river and improve its
drainage. .

One of the issues that need to be underscored is the infrastructural vulnerability of Mumbai.
Whenever the city receives heavy rains, its roads get waterlogged, and the traffic is disrupted.
Though the Municipal Corporation undertakes monsoon preparedness measures, its efforts have
not proved to be very effective due to its old drainage system.

Mumbai needs to replace its drainage system, which is more than 100 years. It would require Rs.
1,200 crores to replace the drainage system. The Government of Maharashtra has already
submitted a request for central assistance for replacing its drainage system.

The Government has taken a decision to set up a State Disaster Management Authorityas
envisaged in the bill introduced by the Government of India in the Parliament. The Government
proposes to bring legislation on disaster management to provide statutory support to the Disaster
Management Authority and provide greater teeth to the disaster management functionaries.

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Central Assistance:-

The Government of Maharashtra is in the process of preparing the Memorandum for seeking
central assistance. In view of extensive damage due to floods, the Government would request for
a special dispensation similar to the Tsunami package that was declared for the Tsunami-affected

The Government of India has already released Rs. 1,000 crores from the National Contingency
Calamity Fund for meeting the 17immediate requirements of relief and recovery. The
Government of India has also sanctioned 15,000 tons of foodgrains through the Special
Component of the Sampoorna Grameen Rozgar Yojana (SGRY).

The Government of Maharashtra is committed to the expeditious rehabilitation of the flood-

affected people. Further, the Government of Maharashtra would like to look into underlying
vulnerability of Mumbai, and seek sustainable solutions in terms of restoration of natural
drainage. It also would like to replace the century-old drainage system of the city of Mumbai. It
is important that the State Government receives adequate Central Assistance for undertaking
these mitigation measures so that such a flood does not affect the city of Mumbai again.

4.1 Factors Responsible for disaster in Mumbai:-

(a) Antiquated drainage system:-

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The present storm-water drainage system in Mumbai was put in place in the early 20th century
and is capable of carrying only 25 millimetres of water per hour which was extremely inadequate
on a day when 994 mm of rain fell in the city. The drainage system is also clogged at several
Only 3 'outfalls' (ways out to the sea) are equipped with floodgates whereas the remaining 102
open directly into the sea. As a result, there is no way to stop the seawater from rushing into the
drainage system during high tide.
In 1990, an ambitious plan was drawn to overhaul the city's storm water drainage system which
had never been reviewed in over 50 years. A project costing approximately 600 crore rupees was
proposed by UK based consultants hired by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation to study
the matter.

Implementation of the project would have ensured that rainwater did not flood the streets of
Mumbai. The project was planned to have completed by 2002 and aimed to enhance the drainage
system through larger diameter storm water drains and pipes, using pumps wherever necessary
and removing encroachments.
The project, if implemented would have doubled the storm water carrying capacity
to 50 mm per hour.The BMC committee had rejected the proposed project on the
grounds that it was "too costly".these were the few of the drawbacks due to which
the city suffered so gravely.

(b) Uncontrolled, unplanned development in Northern Suburbs:-

Unlike South Mumbai, development in northern suburbs of Mumbai is haphazard and buildings
are constructed without proper planning. The drainage plans in northern suburbs is chalked out as
and when required in a particular area and not from an overall point of view.

The Environment Ministry of the Government of India was informed in the early 1990s that
sanctioning the Bandra-Kurla complex (a commercial complex in northern Mumbai) was leading
to disaster. No environment clearance is mandatory for large urban construction projects in
northern Mumbai. Officials in the environment ministry claimed that it was not practical to
impose new guidelines with retrospective effect "as there are millions of buildings".

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(c) Destruction of mangrove ecosystems:-

Mangrove ecosystems which

exist along the Mithi River and
Mahim Creek are being destroyed
and replaced with construction.
Hundreds of acres of swamps in
Mahim creek have been
reclaimed and put to use for
construction by builders. These
ecosystems serve as a buffer
between land and sea. It is estimated that Mumbai has lost about 40% of
its mangroves between 1995 and 2005, some to builders and some to
encroachment (slums). Sewage and garbage dumps have also destroyed
The Bandra-Kurla complex in particular was created by replacing such swamps. The most
acclaimed Mindspace CBD (INORBIT MALL) in Goregaon & Malad has been built by
destroying a large patch of Mangroves in Maharashtra.

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About 100 years ago, if Mumbai city were to
receive a rainfall, as heavy as the one witnessed
in the monsoon of 2005, its outcome would not
have been as catastrophic. This is because the
population of the city has grown to ten times of
what it was a century ago. To accommodate this
population, the city has risen vertically, open
spaces have shrunken, the arterial roads cannot be widened any
further and the drainage systems fail to keep pace with the ever-
increasing requirements of the metropolis. Thus,
this natural catastrophe that shook the Mumbai region in 2005 can be ascribed to three main
factors as stated by Dr. Kelkar: (1) Unusually heavy rains and rise in sea-levels, (2) Antiquated
building regulations and (3) The inefficiency of the existing drainage system, necessarily in that
order. These causes are discussed in detail in the following section. What added to this disaster
was the lack of a precise preliminary warning from the weather department. Moreover, the
absence of post-disaster management plans on the part of the citys governing authorities further
compounded the situation.

Since the discharge of all the storm water and treated sewage is released into the Arabian Sea,
tidal variation also constitutes a major component in the system of the storm water drainage
(SWD). It results in excessive flooding and water retention in the event of heavy rains and the
water recedes only during the low tide. This phenomenon was largely observed during the floods
of 26th July 2005, when high tide forced all the drained storm water from the Arabian Sea back
into the city

Unusually Heavy Rains and Rising Sea-levels:

Climate Change and Heavy Rains

Heavy rains to a magnitude of more than 240mm are almost of a regular occurrence in Mumbai
at the onset of the monsoons.

However, after the monsoon sets in and moves into its active phase, the situation is conducive to
the occurrence of very heavy rains over Mumbai, when they are collectively a result of the

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following factors: (1)
Development of a low pressure
belt over the sea, (2)
Intensification of the monsoon
trough and the development of
embedded convective vortices
over central India, (3)
Amplification of the Arabian Sea
current of the monsoon and (4)
Super-positioning of a meso-scale
Off-shore Vortex over the northeast of Arabian Sea and its northward movement. All these
conditions build up a synoptic situation that is conducive to the occurrence of a heavy rainfall in
the area. This phenomenon was largely observed in 2005.

Offshore Vortex: It is a rare meteorological phenomenon, characterized by a heavy but extremely

localized rainfall that spreads over an area of, as little as, 30 square kilometers. Scientists and
experts claim that in the case of the Mumbai floods, the phenomenon started with high velocity
air currents in the Arabian Sea, which turned at 360 degrees, giving rise to a trough. The turn
gave rise to a vortex, which resulted in a low pressure. In the meanwhile, powerful winds rose up
in the atmosphere, leading to a heavy downpour.

However, there is a scientific explanation for the occurrence of this rare phenomenon. The
reason, as Dr. R. K. Pachauri explains, is global climate change, in addition to the citys
geographic proximity to the Sahyadri Hills, that has played a significant role in the intensity of
the downpour of July, 2005. Even as this research is in progress, current climatic changes
worldwide have been exhibiting unexpected behavior and have been a constant cause of concern
for all.

All scientific studies confirm that this climate change is significantly anthropogenic (i.e. human
induced). One of the most predicted effects of the global climate change is extreme variations in
tropical climates, including irregular rainfall patterns. An example of this phenomenon was
witnessed in the form of heavy rains in Mumbai on 26th July 2005. The immense loss of life and
property caused by this event are testimony to the fact that the impacts of climate change can add

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significantly to the vulnerability of the locations and communities that face the danger of natural
disasters anyway. The human influence on climate change is caused by a rise in the concentration
of the so-called greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the earths atmosphere. The most prominent among
these is carbon-dioxide, which has been emitted, in increasing quantities, from the burning of
fossil fuels, since the beginning of industrialization, in the mid-19th century. As a result, by the
end of this century, temperatures would go up by anywhere between 1.4 and 5.8 degrees Celsius.
This increase would have impacts in the form of erosion of the coastal areas, threats to the
existing ecosystems and biodiversity and problems with the supply of water. Sea levels would
rise and create further risks from storm surges for populations that inhabit small island states,
low-lying coastal areas and floodplains. On the whole, the changing climate would unevenly
impact the developing nations and the impoverished within all the countries with a similar
geographical background as that of Mumbai. Floods are also likely to get more frequent and
severe in the rest of India. All of this means that we would have to create mechanisms and
infrastructure by which we would have early warning about the impeding changes in the climate.
For this purpose, a modern and responsive meteorological system should be set up in the most
vulnerable areas. The cost to be incurred in establishing such facilities would be justified by the
substantial reduction in the damage to property and the threat to human life.

However, as mentioned earlier, the adverse consequences of the inundation of Mumbai were
further aggravated when the rains were followed by floods. These floods were mainly a result of
a rise in the sea level and an inefficient drainage system.

Rising Sea-level

The rise in the sea level is primarily a result of the global climate change that is unequivocal.
This fact is now evident from an observed increase in the global average air and ocean
temperatures and the resulting widespread melting of snow and ice at the polar caps. In addition
to the global climate change, the extensive reclamation of land from the sea has also been a cause
of the rise in sea-levels. Event of a heavy downpour and a high tide, residential, port facilities
and various business generating sectors, located in the city would face immense flooding.
Tourism would also be adversely affected, if the beaches and tourist infrastructure like hotels
and lodges were to suffer flooding. Mumbai has a large population of fisher-folk living along

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the coast. Therefore, shoreline fishing would also be affected if fish habitats in the reefs and
estuaries were to be disturbed due to a rise in the sea-level.

But again, there is another significant cause to such an alarming rise in the sea levels and this
cause is primarily man-made. The explanation for this phenomenon could be traced in the
rampant reclamation that has been carried out along the coast of Mumbai as well as along the
banks of the citys natural drains. A detailed description of this development and its
consequences are discussed in the following section.

Outdated building Regulations

Although Global climate change has been observed almost since the 1970s, their unpleasant
effects were not alarming enough for the governments and planning authorities of cities around
the world, to sit and take notice of. Thus, Mumbais authorities were never prompted to draft new
planning policies, considering the new climatic pattern. This has also been true in the case of the
city authorities of Mumbai. Prior to 26th July 2005, the citys existing zoning and building
regulations, that were drafted almost three decades ago, were used to scrutinize and regulate the
new developments. They regulations failed to consider the factor of the rapidly changing local
climate. Mumbai, which is known to receive an annual rainfall of around 240mm, restricted only
to the months of June-September, now bears a downpour of almost eight times the average
expected rainfall, in addition to the untimely winter showers. However, none of these have been
considered to draft new planning policies for the city that can prevent the inundation caused by
these rains and the rising sea levels. Most of the new developments permit the construction of
basements, underground pedestrian bypasses and habitable space at ground level. Also,
numerous old and abandoned buildings are being revitalized and remodeled to be used for a
different purpose. However, the change of use of buildings from ordinary to critical functions is
carried out without strengthening the building" and without considering the climatic changes in
the region. In the event of the floods, these areas get water-logged, causing destruction of life and
property at large. These woes are added to by an antiquated drainage system that has been
serving the city since the past century. Moreover, there has also been a blatant ignorance on the
governments and planning authoritys part to promote sustainable building construction.

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4.2 Flood Mitigation Strategies For Mumbai

Flooding in the monsoons has been a common phenomenon in Mumbai. To deal with this annual
event, the citys disaster management framework includes some mitigation measures drafted out
by the citys planning commission and Municipal Corporation. The chapter looks at these
measures and analyzes their shortcomings with respect to the intensity of the inundation faced by
the city in the recent years.

1. Pre-flood Mitigation Measures:

a. Mitigation of floods:

- Data Collection and Analysis

- Vulnerability Reduction

b. Preparation for Floods


- Emergency Preparedness (including monitoring, alerts)

- Education, Training and Awareness

2. Post-flood Mitigation Measures:

- Rescue and evacuation

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- Relief

- Rehabilitation and Reconstruction

3. Role of Government and Private Sector in the flood mitigation framework

1. Pre-flood measures:

As is generally believed, prevention is always better than cure. Investing time, finance and
efforts in the conceiving the pre-event flood mitigation strategies may considerably save efforts
needed for post-event flood mitigation strategies. They may also reduce the destruction of life
and property to a large extent.

Limiting the floods and their after-effects:

Floods are a form of natural disaster that cannot be totally avoided. However, their intensity and
their after effects can be considerably reduced by adopting the following actions.

Data Collection and Analysis

Under this plan of action, climatic data stating expected amount of rainfall is collected with the
help of satellite images and this information is integrated into the geographic data demarcating
the flood prone areas, using GIS.

This data will then be used by the planning authorities to reserve open spaces in the floodplains
such as flood basins or wetlands for the water to accumulate in the event of floods and prevent
urbanization of these areas by way of land-use and zoning regulations. Figure 1 shows a map
with suggested zoning strategies of the flood prone areas of Mumbai to mitigate the effects of
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flood. The areas shaded in green are coastal zones, highly susceptible to inundation from high
tides as well as heavy rains. They should thus be zoned as open recreational spaces that can act
accumulation points for rain and flood waters. Residential, commercial and any kind of
development that might have habitable spaces should be prohibited in these areas, as a part of
this zoning. The development in the areas shaded in brown should be also be guided by building
codes that reduce the vulnerability of the building occupants to the adverse effects of flooding as
discussed in the following section.

Vulnerability Reduction

The building codes should include flood mitigation measures such as mandatory flood control
devices, use of specific impervious building
materials, specific building methodology to
create water-tight enclosures and elevation
of the habitable floors of a building above the
expected level of flood. Figure 2 shows
graphical representation of elevation levels
of buildings suggested for flood prone
areas of Mumbai. The blue portion depicts the
mean flood level and the yellow portion shows
the level of habitable spaces in the building. Such
elevation should be mandated in flood prone
areas demarcated in brown and green (if any) in
the Figure1. Other flood mitigation strategies
that can be mandated in flood prone zones of
Mumbai include designing buildings to
regulate rain water for constructive use
such as watering planters. The building
codes should mandate alternative power
supply such as generators as a standby in
the event of the failure of the citys main power lines.

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The data generated by GIS can also be used to restore the natural
eco-systems by way of reinstating the regions natural flora and
fauna. The reclaimed land around the Bandra Kurla complex along
the bank of the Mithi River has been extensively concretized and
has also reduced natural course of the river. However the opposite
bank of Mithi River is occupied by slums and has been considered
by the government for slum redevelopment program. Considering
the inundation of Mumbai during the years 2005 and 2006, the bank
should be preserved as open space, with exposed natural soil that can serve as a
seepage ground for flood water and can also restore natural
ecosystems. This scheme would be an extension of the Mahim
Nature Park that has been developed towards this cause.

Flood control devices that should be installed at particular locations in the

flood prone areas are levees. These levees have to be constructed
with strong, impermeable materials. Figure 5 shows specific areas
in Mumbai wherein installation of levees can significantly reduce
their susceptibility to floods. Areas such as the Thane Creek, the Mahim Creek and South-
Eastern Coast of Mumbai are probable locations which need levees.

To facilitate the zoning of flood prone areas as open spaces and water reservoirs the
government can exercise land-acquisition, compensatory regulations and transfer of development
rights. Land acquisition gives the local governing authorities the right to acquire flood prone
areas and have full control over their development in the pre- and post-disaster period. Such
acquisitions mainly depend on state funding.

On the other hand compensatory regulations and transfer of development rights are special
forms of land-acquisition which compensate land owners in exchange for the restrictions of use
on their land. By practicing these rights the government can restrict development of floodplains
and compensate the land-owners in these floodplains for the losses incurred from the loss or
transfer of development rights.

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4.3 Role of the Government and the Private Sector in the flood mitigation
Role of the Government

For pre-flood as well as post mitigation strategies, the Government should serve as a one
point contact coordinating between various city agencies such as the weather bureau, the
telephone department, other media such as radio and television, electricity department, civic
amenities department, port authorities and roads department, as these departments as consortium
are responsible for the normal functioning of the city.

The Government should also formulate policy guidelines and institutionalize a suitable co-
ordination mechanism between the various agencies including the ones mentioned above along
with the city police department and rescue operations team that are concerned with the disaster
management in real time.

In fact, each level of government has a different role to play in the flood vulnerability
reduction. Thus, it is essential that these roles be performed as a part of a coordinated strategy.
Overlapping the functions and responsibilities many needlessly exhaust the resources and waste
valuable time, thus weakening the resilience to the floods. In putting up an effective strategy
against floods, each level of the government should have a definite understanding of its role and
specific responsibilities within the overall structure of the flood mitigation framework. For this
purpose, adequate resources need to be made available and key responsibilities of the
government in this regard include:

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Defining an institutional framework with the participation of local, regional, and national
and even international entities such as various relief organizations;

Strengthening the monitoring systems for climate change and floods, while
institutionalizing the warning mechanisms;

Decentralizing the decision-making process to the local level to ensure prompt action,
transferring financial resources and enhancing the technical expertise of the flood
mitigation team.

The Role of the Private Sector

Depending upon the degree of the economic activity in which the private organizations are
involved and the amount of revenue generated by these activities, the organizations should
have different incentives to engage in vulnerability management. Their strategies must
integrate the expertise developed to handle hazards into vulnerability management and should
foster productive activities as part of the reconstruction efforts. The institutional and legal
framework should provide comprehensive regulations whereby private agents find it in their
best interest to be actively involved in the vulnerability management.
As is evident from this chapter, it takes a perfect synchronization between the various
levels of the citys government, the planning authorities and various sections of the civil
society as well as a proper harmonization within these bodies to build up a sound flood
mitigation mechanism for the city of Mumbai. Their coordination is critical at various
stages of the flood management process, including the stage prior to the floods, during
the floods and after their occurrence.

Adopting this framework, essentially in that order can ensure reduction in the intensity of
the inundation that disrupts the life and working of the city of Mumbai every year during
the monsoons. Likewise it would also help conserve this water and help prevent the
droughts that plague the state each year; a fact that seems like a paradox in the city that
receives such a heavy downpour.

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5.1 Recommendation
Relief and Rehabilitation:-

The Government organized relief measures for the flood-affected areas on a large scale. These
measures are listed as below:

It undertook to distribute 20 kilogram of foodgrains and 10 liters of kerosense oil to all

the flood-affected families free of cost. Since most of the flood-affected people lost their
ration cards, it was decided that food grains and kerosene oil would be distributed
without asking for ration cards. The Government completed the first round of distribution
of food grains though an open system of distribution.

The Government soon resumed the distribution of food grains through ration shops. It
was distributing coupons to the people for getting the food grains free of cost. The
government was seeking to involve the NGOs in the distribution of foodgrains.

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The Government had also decided to provide food grains free of cost for the community
kitchens which were being run by the NGOs and other organizations. In Mumbai, the
Government provided two tons of food grains to each NGO running community kitchens.

The Government had decided to distribute ex gratia assistance at the rate of Rs. 1,000 per
person for the people who lost their possessions in the floods. The Government had
distributed Rs. 210 crores as an ex gratia assistance to the flood-affected population in
different districts. It was estimated about 8 lakh families are badly affected by floods,
and the total amount that may have to be disbursed may go up to Rs. 400 crores.

The Government decided to provide text books to the children who lost them during the
floods. About 7 lakh children were being provided text books in the government,
municipal and even unaided schools. The Government was also in touch with the donors
and NGOs for distributing school bags and note books.

The Government was coordinating with the NGOs for effective channeling of relief and
rehabilitation. It had set up a coordination committee at the government level to ensure
that all the relief assistance is provided to the people transparently.

The Government released Rs. 5 crores to every district affected by floods to undertake
emergency repairs to the schools, primary health centers, roads, bridges, and water supply

The Government started distributing assistance for partially and fully damaged houses as
per the standing orders. However, a number of villages and settlements which were in the
areas prone to frequent flooding and landslide had to be relocated. The Government
provided a package for relocation of 15 all such villages and settlements. In the
meanwhile, the Government has also decided to provide transit shelters to the people
rendered homeless by the floods.

The Government decided to provide assistance to the shopkeepers and stall owners after
making an assessment of their damages. Similarly, the Government provided assistance

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to the farmers who have lost more than 50 percent of their crops. It had already started
distributing seeds and fertilizers to the farmers who would like to re-sow. The
Government provided Rs. 10 crores for the distribution of seeds and fertilizers.

The Government seted up a Chief Ministers Relief Fund for Flood Relief and
Rehabilitation. The Government appealed to the people to contribute liberally to this
fund. The members of the Cabinet and State Legislature decided to contribute their one-
month salary to the Fund. All the government employees pledged their one-day salary to
the fund.

The Government also coordinated with insurance and banking sector to provide
immediate relief to the shopkeepers, traders and entrepreneurs. The Chief Minister
convened a meeting of the insurance companies and requested them to settle insurance
claims on a fast track basis.

The Chief Minister also convened a meeting of state level bankers committee and
impressed upon them to help the flood-affected farmers and small traders in terms of
rehabilitation of their outstanding loan and disbursement of fresh loan on easy terms. The
bankers decided to convert all short term crop loans to medium term to be repaid in five
years after an initial moratorium period of two years.

The rescheduled repayment if done in time will not attract any interest. The outstanding loans of
small traders up to 50,000 in Mumbai and Thane urban agglomeration or up to 25,000 in other
small towns and villages were rescheduled in the same matter as above and the repayment if
done in time will not attract any interest.

Sanitation, Health and Medical Care:-

In the wake of floods, water-borne diseases were likely to break out. The Government had taken
a number of precautionary measures to contain the incidence of these diseases. It took a
sanitation drive by which more than 1000 dumpers and JCBs were deployed in all the flood-
affected areas for disposing of animal carcass and garbage.

In the city of Mumbai, more than 1 lakh ton of garbage was lifted in three days following the
floods. The Government deployed senior government officials in all the affected sub-urban

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towns to oversee the rescue, relief and sanitation drive. The Government has made special
effort to ensure the quality of drinking water. It provided a large number of chlorine tablets and
ORS packets to all the municipal authorities for supplying clean drinking water.

Due to its prompt public health intervention, the incidence of water-borne diseases such as
cholera and gastro-enteritis had largely been contained. About 1,253 medical teams have been
deployed in all the districts for medical check-ups and sanitation programs. In Mumbai, 133
medical teams were working in different areas for contain diseases in the flood-affected areas.
Doctors had been called from other districts and private medical colleges.

The incidence of leptospirosis in Mumbai and Kalyan-Dombivali was, however, a subject of

serious concern. People get the disease when they wade through flood waters infected with
animal urine. The period of incubation for this disease is about 10 days. In Mumbai and Kalyan,
a large number of such cases had been reported. About 97 people had died.

The Government had issued advisories for treating leptospirosis and made arrangements for beds
in all the government and private hospitals for treating the patients. The government was
providing doxycyclines in large quantity for treating the disease. It was also procuring
ventilators for giving immediate support to the critical patients in various hospitals of Mumbai

5.2 Conclusion:
In the era of 1990s we have seen many disaster which took place because of heavy rainfall,
because of which Mumbai faced many difficult problems like clogging of areas in many parts of
the suburban region and faced the difficulties of transportation, many people were stranded in the
middle of the city and destroyed the Mumbai to a larger extent, as we all know every year there
has been same story of clogging of areas, transportation problem and so on.

BMC ( brihan Mumbai corporation) is the lifeline of the Mumbai roads, since its the utmost
responsibilities of the BMC to construct the proper roads , every year rainfalls destroys the
Mumbai roads to a larger extent which makes the life of the people difficult to travel by roads,
many accidents happen due to bad roads, its the BMC who has to Implement the certain new
ideas to tackle these problems

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In the decade of 2000, the year of 2005 has witnessed the major problems of floods in the
month of july, that was the major disaster which happened and paralysed the Mumbai for around
a week from july 24 to 30 july, BMC didnt take much initiative to implement the measures of
safety during floods, BMC should concentrate more on handling of proper manholes which is the
major culprit of floods , manholes should be taken care for the safeguard of the floods , proper
levelling of the roads can be helpful to minimize the floods to a greater extent

In todays generation of the year 2015 has also witnessed floods in the suburban region still
utmost care should be implemented to safeguard the Mumbai from floods which is the major
concern for every mumbaikar

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