Learning from its mistakes during the 2005 deluge, the municipal corporation claims it is better equipped to tackle with any monsoon-related disaster this year.
This monsoon, officials from 14 emergency support functions (ESFs) will be posted in the disaster control room at the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) headquarters to coordinate relief work, especially on high tide and heavy rain days.
The ESFs identified by the BMC are communication, resource management, public health and sanitation, transport, search and rescue, fire fighting, public safety and law and order, information management, mass care, housing and human services, relief supplies, energy (power, fuel and gas), utility services, public works and infrastructure and oil and hazardous material.
“We have asked officials of ESFs to be present at the disaster control room, especially on days when high tide collides with heavy rains that could cause flood-like situations, so that in case of a crisis, mitigation efforts can be coordinated,” said a senior civic official on condition of anonymity.
On July 26, 2005, when the city received 944mm of rainfall coupled with high tide, transport came to a halt, communications failed and people were stranded at various locations. Unprepared, the BMC then had found it difficult to handle the situation.
The senior civic official added that the BMC has carried out this practice in the past, but this monsoon, the system will be implemented more systematically by categorising the service sectors in ESFs for better synchronisation in relief work.
This monsoon, the BMC will also post one deputy municipal commissioner on night shift to control the activities in the disaster control room. Civic officials said this would be done to ensure that the disaster management agencies are within reach in case of emergency.
"If there is a mudslide in the night, then the relief-supplying agencies can begin operations without wasting time waiting for orders,” said a civic official, on condition of anonymity.
The BMC has set up more than 30 hotlines in the disaster control room, and five more will be connected to major civic hospitals to contact them in case of emergency.