TOPIC: FLOODS IN MUMBAI
26TH JULY 2005
Floods in Mumbai 26th July 2005
1. Overview: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 standstill.
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.
2. 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 suburban 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 spate, flooding a large number of towns and villages.
No sooner did the flooding recede in Konkan and Marathwada, the release of water from
the Koyana and Ujani dams flooded Sangli, Kolhapur, and Solapur districts.
3. 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 possessions—electronic goods,
furniture, clothes and utensils.
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 and aggravate the flooding. Despite a respite from the rains, the water level in these
towns did not reduce.
4. 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.
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.
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 losses—5,667 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
are eTrading, 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.
5. Effect on Mumbai’s 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
Rail links were disrupted, and reports on late evening of 30 July indicated cancellation
of several long distance trains up to 6 August, 2005.
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.
52 local trains damaged
37,000 autorickshaws spoilt
900 BEST buses damaged
10,000 trucks and tempos grounded
6. 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.
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 organizations.
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.
7. 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 floodaffected 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
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
8. 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.
• 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 Government decided to provide assistance to the shopkeepers and stall owners after
making an assessment of their damages. Similarly, the Government provided assistance 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 Minister’s 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
• 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.
9. 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
10. 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 Tsunamiaffected states.
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 floodaffected 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
11. Factors Responsible for disaster in Mumbai:(a) Antiquated drainage system:-
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 places.
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
( 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 mangroves.
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 Mangrooves in Maharashtra.
12. In the End:The 2005 flooding disaster was featured in a National Geographic Documentary. Also
there are two full length commercial Hindi feature films made and released on this
unfortunate incident. The first movie was "26 July at Barista" that released in 2008,
while the other movie on the same subject was released in November 2009 with the
title "Tum Mile" and did very well at the box-office.
13. Some Pictures of Mumbai Foods 2005:-