The toll in Malad wall collapse climbed to 31 on Saturday after 50-year-old Basanti Kishore Sharma succumbed at Dr RN Cooper hospital.
Basanti was swept away by the reservoir water after portions of the Malad reservoir wall collapsed in Kurar village’s Pimpripada and Ambedkar Nagar areas on July 2. She died at 2.30 pm Saturday after battling polytrauma injuries and lung infection for days.
Following heavy rainfall and accumulation of water, parts of the 2.3-km boundary wall of the BMC’s Malad reservoir had given away causing flood in an adjacent slum settlement. The Sharma family’s hut, located right next to the concrete wall in Ambedkar Nagar, was damaged in the incident, even as seven members of the family — Basanti, her husband Kishore, daughter Jyoti, sons Radhe and Uttam, the latter’s wife and six-month-old child — were swept away by the water. Kishore and Jyoti’s bodies were later found among the debris.
“Radhe suffered serious injuries in the incident, but took a discharge from the hospital to perform his father’s funeral,” Zakir Kasam, a resident of Ambedkar Nagar, said.
Basanti’s daughter Sheetal Sharma said, “My mother had developed infection in both her hands. Over the last few days, her lungs were infected and she contracted pneumonia.” Sheetal, a nurse, was away on duty when the wall had collapsed on their house.
Dr R Sukhdev, medical superintendent of Cooper hospital said Basanti had severe bacterial infection — fascitis — in her hands. “After the patient’s condition deteriorated today morning and we put her on ventilator support.”
Meanwhile, residents of Malad have continued to refuse rehabilitation in Mahul, which has been offered by the BMC. On Saturday, Sheetal said she did not even know where Mahul is located.
An independent report by activists, TISS students, NGO Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao, and several social groups has found that the Malad wall was not designed taking into account the topography or the amount of storm water draining during heavy rainfall. “The wall was poorly designed, in that it did not have any outlets or holes to allow surface runoff, which would have released the pressure of water that logged behind it. The only outlet for water was a culvert under the asphalt, which was most likely clogged by the vegetation that was washed away and carried by the flow,” the report stated.