AHMEDABAD/JAIPUR: Around 25,000 people have been evacuated to safer regions as rains have affected north and central parts of Gujarat leading to flooding. The torrential rains which have affected several parts hit many regions of the western state and Rajasthan sending security forces and rescue operations into high alert.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) has started immediate aerial rescue operations with five helicopters to get people to safety before it takes a turn for the worse, according to a statement by the defence ministry.
Military was yesterday called out to help in relief and rescue operations in some districts of Gujarat and Rajasthan after copious rains caused floods, leaving thousands of people marooned, officials said.
A woman and her daughter were killed when the jeep they were travelling in was washed away by strong currents over a bridge across a canal in Kherwada police station limits in Udaipur in Rajasthan where downpour has resulted in inundation in Jalore, Pali and Sirohi districts.
Army and Air Force contingents have been rushed in to assist in relief and rescue operations. Four MI-17V5 helicopters were conducting sorties from bases in Jamnagar, Jodhpur and Phalodi. Incessant rain has thrown normal life out of gear in several areas in the three districts of otherwise parched Rajasthan, hitting road and rail transport. Two trains were terminated in Jodhpur Railway Division following waterlogging on Bhiladi-Samdari section.
Torrential rains pounding north Gujarat have caused flood in Banaskantha and Patan districts, prompting authorities to declare a state-wide "high alert" and call out Army, Air Force and NDRF teams for assistance. About 2,200 people have been shifted to safer places and 460 maroon people rescued, officials said. Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, who reviewed the situation with top officials, said the problem has been compounded by heavy rains in neighbouring Rajasthan which led to surge in water levels of rivers and dams in Gujarat.
Video footages showed even large vehicles like trucks stuck in flood water which entered several homes in the two districts.Banaskantha and Patan districts are hugely affected due to heavy rains in north Gujarat and Rajasthan. Dantiwada and Sipu dams are overflowing, and due to the release of water from the dams, people living in low-lying areas have been shifted to safer places, he said.
So far, 1,526 people in Banaskantha, about 500 in Patan, and over 200 in Kalol in Gandhinagar have been shifted. The administration is making arrangements for distributing food packets to those hit, Rupani said. As many as 462 people have been rescued in the affected areas and the state has been put on high alert due to the heavy rains, Rupani said.
One column of the Army, roughly about 100 personnel, has been rushed to the flood-hit areas from Dhrangdhara to assist the National Disaster Response Force in evacuating people and reaching relief to them. Three Air Force helicopters have been kept ready in Deesa town in Banaskantha to provide help if the situation worsened.
Rajasthan's Minister of Disaster Management and Relief Gulab Chand Kataria said the situation in Jalore, Pali and Sirohi districts was "critical".In Jalore, he said, five people were precariously perched atop a tree and were unable to climb down due to strong currents. Inclement weather has made deploying helicopters for their rescue difficult, he said. Rescue teams were waiting for the weather to clear to launch fresh efforts to take them to safety. Kataria said a large number of people were marooned in Mount Abu, Sanchor and the adjoining areas. Food packets were being distributed to those affected by floods.
Meanwhile, the Odisha government has rushed ODRAF personnel and dry food items to two northern districts apprehending floods. One Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) team each has been rushed to Keonjhar and Bhadrak districts, special relief commissioner (SRC) B P Sethi said. The threat of flood looms over these districts due to sudden rise in water levels of Baitarani, Subarnarekha and
Meanwhile, the weatherman has forecast heavy to very heavy rain Gujarat and Rajasthan over the next 24 hours.