Pooja Chaudhuri Chaudhuri
The only fiction I enjoy is in books and movies.
On Tuesday, August 29, when Mumbai saw the highest rainfall since 2005, a family was stuck for 24 hours with an elderly patient in a local train near the Kurla station.
Transport services in the city were paralysed and eight members of the family had to walk for almost 20 km carrying the patient in turns.
Incessant rainfall had forced all trains to be cancelled and due to water logging on the tracks, the family was trapped inside the train for more than 24 hours. They could get out at 3 am on Wednesday with the patient, Lalita Bai, when the water started receding.
But their plight further escalated when they couldn’t find any cabs to take home. The Gaikwads decided to walk then, carrying Lalita Bai in turns.
“It was a harrowing experience. The water level was up till our chest at a few places and mostly up till our waist. My kaki (patient Lalita Bai Gaikwad) has back pain. We had come to Mumbai for her treatment. She wasn’t able to walk. So, all family members carried her one by one,” said Yogesh Gaikwad to India Today.
It took the family five hours to reach KEM Hospital in Parel from Kurla, only to find out that the doctor who was supposed to treat the patient was on leave due to heavy rains.
Earlier, when the family was coming from Asangaon to Mumbai, they were stuck on the way due to the derailment of Nagpur-bound Duronto Express. They had to catch a local to Parel and were again stuck inside the train for more than 24 hours. They survived only on tea and snacks served by the Railway Protection Force (RPF).
The family was asked by the doctors to come again on Wednesday but travelling for 450 km from Bhusaval will again be a horrific experience.
On Tuesday, Mumbai saw rainfall five times higher than the average precipitation the city witnesses every year. The death toll has risen to more than 15 people.
Mumbai witnesses heavy rainfall every year and every year the city is unprepared. People open their doors for fellow-citizens and help in every possible way. However, the responsibility of the authorities is lacking. People aren’t informed before the calamity hits and within hours, the city is submerged in water. People are stranded, trains are cancelled (and derailed), stray animals are drowned, buildings collapse, shops, schools, hospitals and offices are closed and people lose their lives.
Sadly, this is a vicious circle.
The same is repeated in other states as well. Assam and other north-eastern states, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, have all been at the crux of floods.
Our leaders and our municipality bodies are supposed to keep us informed and safeguard us from disasters instead of calling them ‘acts of God’.
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