International agency Oxfam's emergency assessment team is now in the western Maharashtra district of India responding to the worst flooding in the area for three decades.
The Oxfam International emergency team is urgently gathering information on the ground to determine the needs of people affected by the flooding in Mumbai and the surrounding areas. The Oxfam team has been responsible for evacuating people stranded in the flood water and plans to start its relief effort in the next few days once a needs assessment has been carried out.
More than 450 people are believed to have died in Mumbai and a further 5,000 have been rescued from the coastal regions. Thousands remain trapped in their homes and a rescue operation is underway.
"Oxfam is on the ground gathering vital information so we know how best to respond to the needs of people. Our priority is to ensure that more people don't loose their lives because of this disaster and that they have the basic essentials such as access to clean drinking water", said Oxfam aid worker Aditi Kapoor.
Heavy rainfall in the area over the past few days has lead to widespread flooding with more than 26 inches of rain, the heaviest ever recorded in Indian falling on Tuesday in Mumbai. Half of Maharashtra has been affected by the floods and the situation in the coastal region has worsened.
Oxfam partners are reporting a landslide in the Mahad and Raigad areas of western Maharashtra that may have killed dozens of people.
"The major rivers flowing through the city have burst their banks causing flooding in the slum areas adjoining the river as well as to buildings and apartments. There has been widespread damage and we anticipate the death toll will increase over the coming hours and days. Oxfam and other agencies are in a race against time to save lives" said Kapoor.
For more information please contact Shaista Aziz in the Oxfam media unit on 0044 (0) 7810814980 or Aditi Kapoor 0091 9810306200 or Marlene McIntyre: 00961 407515559