On Tuesday, the 10th of July, Mumbai recorded 184 mm rainfall, the highest 24-hr rainfall in four years. A strong repercussion of this was disruption of all train services between its suburbs Virar-Nalasopara, as the tracks lay submerged under water. Passengers waded through chest-deep water to seek shelter.
But the worst hit among all were the passengers of the trains coming into the city from outside who were stranded at Virar, Vasai and Nalasopara.
Over 450 passengers of the Vadodara Express were stuck in the floods at Nalasopara station since 3.40 a.m on Tuesday. According to a report in The Hindu, the express train with over 1,000 passengers left Vadodara the previous night and was scheduled to reach Mumbai Central at 4.45 a.m. But couldn’t, due to severe waterlogging.
At 1.30 pm, these passengers were rescued by the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and the Railway Protection Force (RPF). The two forces also arranged 11 buses to ferry the passengers from the station to Naigaon, where they had arranged food.
Despite the relief efforts, many stranded came forward to express disappointment saying that they did not receive any help from the authorities until their plight was highlighted on social media.
Fiza Jafreen, who boarded the train in Surat along with her brothers, said many passengers climbed down and walked on the tracks.
“There were several women, children and senior citizens in our coach and on this train. However, we received no help from the authorities until 11 a.m., when they gave us food and water,” she told the publication.
While the local railway officials cleared the air saying the distribution of food and water was delayed because RPF staff had to wade through water on the tracks and distribute it by hand, a few volunteers were up and running as early as 6 am to help people.
About 50 members of the Shri Virar Kutchi Visa Oswal Jain Seva Samaj helped a host of passengers stuck in Vasai, Virar, Nalasopara and Dahanu with water, tea and food.
One of the volunteers, Tarun Vora, told The Times of India that the relief efforts revealed how the volunteers were out all day on Monday, distributing food to people whose homes were flooded.
He said, “On Tuesday, 50 of us headed out at 6 am, providing food and water to passengers of Vadodara Express, Bhuj Bandra Express, Lokshakti Express and Bhavnagar-Bandra-Jamnagar Express among other trains.”
“Our women have been busy preparing theplas, poha, puri, rotis and tea for stranded people,” added another volunteer, Pankit Shah.
While it would have been easy for those 50 volunteers to have stayed safe in their homes, they decided to selflessly wade through chest-deep waters to provide relief to complete strangers in distress. #GoMumbai
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)