12 July 2006

Mumbai bombings

Once again Indian Railways have been devastated by bombings, this time at several locations in the Mumbai/Bombay greater metropolitan area. For a sample of reports see the BBC (which has a map of the stations affected), The Indian Express (each of which has a map of the affected areas), and The Hindu. I've travelled through some of the affected stations (thankfully not on a crowded commuter train like the ones which were bombed) so it brought back some memories of how busy the lines are and how, given that there are so few railway lines which carry so many people each day, the city must have been almost brought to a standstill. Fortunately this doesn't seem to have happened and there are reports that the affected lines, if not the stations, have reopened.

At the moment no organisation or person has claimed responsibility, though as the reports mentioned above state, there are some obvious suspects.

This morning I listened to the story unfold on ABC radio which relied upon several Indian reporters for most of its stories (doesn't the ABC have a correspondent on the spot any more?). Generally the reporting was good, with one exception: a person in New Delhi who seemed to be getting her information third hand. This shows the value of having people with local knowledge on the spot, something which the Australian media should bear in mind about local news coverage. When a disaster occurs, whether natural eg cyclone or unnatural eg bombing radio is probably the best way to keep people in the vicinity in touch with what's happening or likely to happen.

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