Relatives and friends of the nearly 100 residents trapped under the debris spent most of Friday desperately looking for information on the survivors, but there was little to be found.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) failed to provide basic disaster management facilities that would help victims’ families. There was no helpdesk at the E ward office (under which Mazgaon falls) or at the disaster management cell. And no one was making periodic announcements about the number of people being rescued from the wreckage.
“For the past six hours, I have been waiting to hear about my friend who lived on the third floor. But I do not know if he has been pulled out,” said Rajendra Gurav, a resident of Dadar, who works in the BMC’s markets department.
With coordination between authorities coming to a nought, harrowed relatives ran from one hospital to another to find out if their family members were there.
A relative of the Zagade family, of which one member had been rescued, said: “I went to JJ hospital as I was told by some officials that the daughter in the family had been sent there. But the hospital authorities said she was not. How can they provide us with false information?”
Mahesh Narvekar, chief officer of the civic disaster management cell, did not respond to calls despite repeated attempts. Senior civic officials pushed the blame from one department to another.
SS Shinde, deputy municipal commissioner, disaster management, said: “It is the primary responsibility of the ward office to provide manpower and resources at the accident spot and a majority of our workforce was present to help with the rescue operations”.