Gujarat rains: Over 12,000 people evacuated, Narmada crosses danger mark

Sep 19, 2023 01:59 AM IST

The Narmada River overflowed, flooding homes & causing chaos in Bharuch and Ankleshwar, along with nearby areas, resulting in a devastating flood-like situation

After a brief respite in August, the recent heavy rainfall has once again thrown parts of Gujarat into disarray, with flood-like situations necessitating the evacuation of over 12,000 residents, causing disruptions in daily commuting, and leading to the closure of schools.

A total of 617 persons were rescued from different districts of the state. (PTI)
A total of 617 persons were rescued from different districts of the state. (PTI)

In the last three days, 126 talukas of the state received more than two inches of rain, said Alok Kumar Pandey, state Relief Commissioner.

“A total of 12,444 persons have been evacuated from low-lying areas affected by heavy rains in Narmada, Bharuch, Vadodara, Dahod, Panchmahal and Anand districts. A total of stranded 617 persons were rescued from these regions,” he said.

READ | Heavy rain triggers flood alert along Tapi in Gujarat; schools closed in Rajasthan's Jalore

At present, 10 teams of both National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) are deployed in rescue operations at various locations in the state.

Pandey affirmed that, in accordance with the directives of chief minister Bhupendra Patel, the commitment to the ‘Zero Human Life Loss’ motto has been successfully upheld through the proactive measures undertaken by all affected district administrations.

In one incident, three individuals in Dahod were stranded in the Panam river due to heavy rains since Sunday. A team of SDRF rescued them and moved them to safety on Monday.

The deluge has prompted the closure of many vital transportation routes, including a state highway and roads in 13 panchayats. Pandey said they are working to restore these routes by late evening, aiming to minimise disruption and restore normalcy.

READ | Heavy rain triggers flood alert along Tapi in Gujarat; schools closed in Rajasthan's Jalore

Water levels were hovering, over 40 feet, nearly 12 feet above the danger mark of 28 feet, on Bridge No. 502 between Bharuch - Ankleshwar on the River Narmada, forcing closure of the railway traffic and cancellations. At least 18 trains, including Mumbai-Ahmedabad Tejas Express and Shatabdi Express have been cancelled due to the floods, according to a Western Railway release.

The Narmada River overflowed, flooding homes and causing chaos in Bharuch and Ankleshwar, along with nearby areas, resulting in a devastating flood-like situation. This was due to the release of an incredible amount of water, equivalent to 6 lakh cusecs, from the Sardar Sarovar Dam on Sunday evening. It led to the displacement of hundreds of people and significant impact to the region’s infrastructure.

After heavy rains in Madhya Pradesh and the Narmada district, numerous residential neighborhoods in the lower-lying parts of Ankleshwar and Bharuch found themselves inundated by floodwaters reaching heights of about 10 feet and more. Along the Ankleshwar-Hansot state highway, the floods submerged several communities, compelling residents to take refuge on their rooftops as their homes were submerged up to the first floor.

READ | Heavy rainfall likely in these states; IMD issues red alert for Maharashtra, MP

Train traffic on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad route resumed slowly around Monday noon, nearly 12 hours after it was halted when the Narmada River was flowing above the danger mark, according to a Western Railway official. At around 2.20pm, the water levels receded to 37.62 feet.

The state has seen 91% of the season’s rainfall, totaling an average of 32 inches. By the end of August, there was a 15% decline, with only 1 inch of rain in August compared to a substantial 4 inches within the first ten days of September.

In Ahmedabad, schools and many offices remained closed due to heavy rains. Along the Sarkhej-Gandhinagar highway, near Godrej Garden City, some compassionate individuals placed the detached number plates of swept-away vehicles in a visible location, enabling the owners who had lost them to easily identify and retrieve their license plates.

To accommodate the displaced and ensure their well-being, migrant populations have been swiftly relocated to designated shelter homes, where essential arrangements, including food packets, have been provided.

According to Relief Commissioner Pandey, 80 dams in the state are above 90 % full. Water levels are receding from most areas, he said.

“As many as 270 stranded citizens were rescued by the administration while work is on to clear roads by removing fallen trees,” CM Patel said.

Meanwhile, Army personnel rescued 12 people stranded on a small island in the Narmada river passing from Karjan taluka in Vadodara district after a 48-hour operation, a government release said.

“After 48 hours of rescue operation, Army personnel successfully rescued and brought these 12 people, including women and children, on the shore on Monday morning using boats,” it stated.

The India Meteorological Department said “extremely heavy rainfall” occurred at isolated places in Arvalli, Mahisagar, Panchmahal, and Sabarkantha districts during the last 24 hours ending at 8.30am (on Monday).

As per the rainfall data shared by the State Emergency Operations Centre, 29 tehsils received more than 40 mm downpour between 6am and 2pm on Monday. Visavadar taluka in Junagadh district received 283 mm of rainfall in the eight hours till 2pm.

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