MUMBAI’S FIRST heavy downpour left commuters fuming as flooded roads led to massive traffic congestion, resulting in ambulances too facing a tough time navigating through waterlogged roads.
The state-run Maharashtra Emergency Medical Services (MEMS) received over 150 calls for ambulance on Friday. Of them, 21 were emergency calls — most of these ambulances were delayed in reaching their designated spots. The data received from morning till 5 pm shows that MEMS recorded an average delay of 15-20 minutes in either reaching the patient or taking the patient to a hospital.
Maximum congestion was witnessed in Andheri and Bhandup. “One of the ambulances took one-hour-thirty-five minutes to transfer a patient in Bhandup from one hospital to another,” said Ashish Yadav, Mumbai district manager for Bharat Vikas Group (BVG) that handles the MEMS service. Most calls for ambulance came for cardiac failure, abdominal pain and referrals to other hospitals.
Dr Noorana Ansari, who assisted a woman who had just delivered a baby and was suffering from high blood pressure, took an hour-and-a-half to reach a Sion hospital from Ramabai Nagar. “The ambulance’s tyres were under water. We could not see the road ahead, the visibility was poor,” Ansari said. Her next emergency call was for a 13-year-old girl who suffered from congenital heart disease and required transfer to another hospital. “It took us 40 minutes to travel from Kurla Bhabha till KEM hospital… It usually takes just 15 minutes.”
Sahara cardiac ambulance service witnessed over half-an-hour delay on an average. “It was difficult to drive in Goregaon and Andheri. There was no space for a ambulance to move ahead,” said Mohammed Sayed, who manages the fleet.
An ambulance was stuck in traffic for 45 minutes while ferrying a patient who had suffered a cardiac arrest from Goregaon to KLS Memorial hospital in Vile Parle, he added.
Shivani Tripathi, who lives in Andheri West, said it took her two hours to reach JW Mariott Hotel near the international airport from her home. The auto ride usually takes half an hour. Another commuter, Vedanshi Saraogi, said a 15-minute drive to the station took over one-and-a-half hours on Friday. Parts of Andheri received over 100 mm of rainfall, leading to flooding in Andheri subway, which acts a crucial connector from east to west.
Cab aggregators, Ola and Uber, hiked their fare, inconveniencing commuters. Sanjay Haria posted on Twitter that three drivers cancelled his ride. “How will Ola reimburse me for my wasted time?” he asked. Tejas Mehta tweeted that Uber was charging him Rs 1,100 for a distance of 20 km.