Mumbai Floods Bring Diamond Industry to Halt

The diamond industry in India was recently brought to a halt after devastating floods hit the country’s commercial hub in Mumbai.

The city, home to hundreds of diamond traders and jewelry factories, was hit by 37 inches of rain over a 24-hour period—close to what New York gets in a year. The resulting floods killed nearly 1,000 people, caused mudslides, and raised lingering fears of disease.

Amita Mehta of Emby was in Mumbai when the floods hit. She said the rains were especially severe in the area near SEEPZ, the jewelry manufacturing zone. “Cars were floating, scooters were floating,” she said. “A lot of poor people lost everything. It was very sad.”

For most of the week following the floods, electricity was out, and attendance at factories was minimal. When they returned, workers had to clean up the considerable water damage, including flooded underground vaults. Mehta said deliveries were delayed 10 days.

Baiju Bhansali, of Diamond Direct, said that on the day of the flooding his factory workers walked home in nearly five feet of flood water, with only their heads above water. “It was a real tragedy, but people seem to be getting back on track,” he said.

Activity in the manufacturing hub in Surat was not affected.