Yadav (26), said that people screamed for help when he woke up on July 19, 2019. “The water had risen above our heads… I saw people being swept away by the water with my own eyes.”
Yadav and his neighbours were protected from the monsoon rains for his entire life. His house had never been destroyed before, but the wall has now fallen and he has had his home rebuilt four times in three year.
Every year, thousands die in India due to flooding and landslides that occur during the monsoon season. This rains from June through September.
India’s poor, including Yadav in India, are among the most at-risk.
Sunita Narain is a veteran Indian environmentalist and director general of Centre for Science and Environment.
This weekend, world leaders will gather in Glasgow for the COP26 Climate Talks. They seek to reduce carbon emissions while avoiding a catastrophic rise of global temperatures.
But for millions of Indians pledges on paper remain a possibility. Their homes won’t be saved. They are already facing the climate crisis, and it is threatening their homes.
Three years and four homes gone
Yadav explained that his house measures 10 by 15 feet. The floor is made of dirt. “In that soil we have hammered wooden poles. They are tied together and covered with plastic sheets. If it is hit by a strong wind or cyclone, it will be completely removed.”
Families started to keep any valuables in plastic bags so they could quickly evacuate. There is only so much you can keep safe.
Yadav stated that at that point, people were tired of the authorities and the continuous cycle of destruction, evacuation, and rebuilding. “How are we to live this way?” He said.
Yadav stated that debris began flowing down at around 1:30 AM. “It was pouring heavily and we could feel it moving.”
A torrent of tears washed through the Ambedkar Nagar slum in Mumbai, India, September 2021. Credit: Anish Yadav
Residents were again evacuated from the school and remain there with little clean water, no electricity, and no toilets.
Yadav stated that he doesn’t know when he will return home or find a new home.
“(Authorities), are just saying that housing will be available in three to four days, but it is not being done. People have lost their jobs, and they don’t have enough money to eat. This is all down to the system.
Mumbai’s governing body, the Brihanmumbai Metropolitan Corporation, didn’t respond to repeated requests for comment.
Places are becoming increasingly unlivable
Muralee Thumbmarukudy, acting chief of the UN Environment Program’s Resilience and Conflicts Global Support Branch said that slum residents tend to live in weak structures near the edge of cities that are less stable and more susceptible to natural disasters. They are often without any type of insurance that allows them rebuild or relocate.
These residents are also more susceptible to secondary effects of flooding such as the spread of waterborne disease, groundwater contamination and loss of food supply.
Rajan Samuel is the managing director of Habitat for Humanity India. He says that disasters can destroy both livelihoods and homes.
He stated, “The trend that I am seeing is that livelihoods are disrupted by every disaster, and then shelter is also affected.” “We must mitigate both.”
Experts say that while the government is training Indian cities to be “climate-smart”, there are other steps to be taken, such as improving evacuation procedures and redesigning water systems.
Narain The Centre for Science and Environment Using existing information Systems were created “at a time disasters occurred once in ten years, once every five years.” It now has 10 disasters per year.
Recent She added that floods, droughts, and other disastrous climate events “all show us very clearly how the future will look.”
Many of the displaced Indians like Yadav have no option but to rebuild their homes in disaster-prone areas.
Yadav and his family won’t leave their slum land unless the government offers an alternative.
His mother and he now have to survive on their meager savings and money borrowed from family members, as well as the cash they make from pawning their jewellery.
He is losing hope right now and dreads the thought of rebuilding — again.
Yadav said, “It has been going so long.” “You never know when the water will flood the house, and if it will cause damage to the house.”