Morbi Dam Breach : Modi’s firsthand experience in Disaster Management

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PM Modi Story

Morbi in Gujarat’s Saurashtra region is known for its prosperous ceramic trade. The majestic town grew on the banks of the Machhu River, which fertilizes the area.
It was the fateful day of 11 August 1979, when the entire region was lashed with heavy rainfall. Rising water levels breached the Machhu Dam and as a result the entire region was submerged within minutes. The devastation was such that it took less than 15 minutes to inundate an entire district. The area was littered with corpses. Many bodies had become bloated and were in a terribly decomposed state. Thousands of lives lost with huge economic cost for the region.

Morbi needed immediate relief

Shri Narendra Modi, then 29, worked as a young Pracharak of the RSS rushed to the aid of the people. Shri Modi took the lead in relief and rescue work in Morbi.
Shri Narendra Modi and other volunteers who reached Morbi had to arrive on foot as roads and lanes were flooded. An intuitive Shri Modi along with RSS volunteers, assessed the situation and created a detailed plan for rescue and relief work.

Shri Modi deployed different teams of volunteers to clean roads, clear muck from the houses, and pull out the bodies and cremate them. One big challenge was to pull the bodies out of the muck because most of the bodies were in decomposed state. Shri Modi gave the idea of wrapping the bodies in a cloth so that they are not decomposed. Cremating them was also a challenge because dry wood was not available so Shri Modi asked volunteers to make proper arrangements and cremate the bodies.

Arranged food for the survivors

He, along with the volunteers, also arranged food for the survivors. Shri Narendra Modi asked the teams to survey each and every house and distribute the food with upkeeping the dignity of the survivors.

Shri Modi arranged teams of doctors from different parts of Gujarat for medical help.

A Flood Victims Relief Committee was formed by Shri Modi which collected Rs 14 lakhs at that time for the help of the survivors.

In Morbi, Shri Narendra Modi got a first-hand experience of carrying out rescue and relief work. The horrible tragedy in Morbi left a deep imprint on his mind which guided him to prepare the nation as Resilient India later.

A book- ‘Resilient India: How Modi Transformed India’s Disaster Management Paradigm’ has been published by Modi Story and Bluekraft Digital Foundation which has the details of PM Shri Narendra Modi’s efforts in preparing a Resilient India. It also has the details of PM Modi’s disaster handling experiences in it.