Monsoons are about illness and evacuation | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Monsoons are about illness and evacuation

For residents of Kurla, especially those living close to the Mithi river, the monsoon announces the annual ritual of evacuations and ailments.

mumbai Updated: Jan 23, 2012 01:44 IST
Bhavika Jain

For residents of Kurla, especially those living close to the Mithi river, the monsoon announces the annual ritual of evacuations and ailments.

Whenever the river swells, families alongside the big nullah are displaced and given temporary housing at a nearby municipal school with 50 other unknown families.

A survey conducted by the SNDT women’s university’s department of food science and nutrition shows that 45% of Kurla’s population lives besides nullahs, which exposes them to more diseases.

The entire area is vulnerable to monsoon-related ailments, and it has one the highest death tolls due to diseases such as gastroenteritis, leptospirosis, dengue, malaria and viral fever.

“Every year, we start packing our belongings whenever it starts raining heavily. The situation in the ward has not changed much since the 2005 deluge,” said Chirag Kumbhar, a resident of Tungwe village.

It does not help that the municipal dispensaries and hospitals are in a poor state.

Local residents complain that the only civic hospital in the area — Bhabha hospital — cannot offer emergency medical services, and that if a patient’s condition is complicated or serious, then he or she is referred to KEM or Sion hospital.

At times, the times lapse can even prove fatal. “Two years ago, my daughter Mumtaz was taken there for delivery, but they refused to admit her. She had to be taken to Sion hospital, but she died by the time we reached there,” said Kurla resident Aftar Siddiqui.

The densely populated ward consists of 7.8% of the city’s population, but Kurla’s ward budget has been shrinking over the years.

In 2008-2009, Rs 73.98 crore was allocated for the L-ward, which was reduced to Rs 69.78 crore, Rs 62.86 crore and Rs 24.94 crore in the subsequent years.