September 14, 2021 12:27:06 am
Three people were killed and five were missing as torrential rain lashed Rajkot and Jamnagar districts on Monday, throwing normal life out of gear, forcing authorities to evacuate thousands of people from low-lying areas and keep schools and colleges closed.
In two separate incidents in Rajkot, a woman and a businessman, were swept away in their cars. The woman, Manju Gamara was reported dead while the businessman Kishan Shah, is missing.
Twenty four persons were rescued by Indian AirForce helicopters from Jamnagar on directions from newly appointed chief minister Bhupendra Patel.
Meanwhile, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) has forecast widespread very heavy rainfall in Gujarat till September 18.
State highway No.25, which connects Rajkot to Jamnagar, and National Highway 27, connecting Rajkot to Junagadh, were temporarily closed to vehicular traffic.
The worst-affected area in Saurashtra was Lodhika taluka of Rajkot district, which recorded 23 inches of rain in 34 hours till 4 pm on Monday, followed by Kalavad taluka of Jamnagar district, which received 22 inches of rain during the same period. Rajkot city received 16 inches of rain, while Gondal and Dhoraji talukas of Rajkot district recorded 12 inches each.
Jamnagar taluka in Jamnagar district logged eight inches of rain during the period. Lodhika registered more than 17 inches of rain between 6 am and 6 pm on Monday, while Kalavad received 14-inch rain during the 12- hour period and Rajkot city recorded 12 inches of rain during the day. Visavadar taluka in Junagadh also logged 14-inch rain during 12 hours.
Manju Gamara of Kagdadi village in Rajkot district died after the car in which she was travelling was swept away in a flooded river. Three others travelling with her car were reported missing, the district flood control room of Rajkot said.
Rajkot businessman Kishan Shah and his driver were reported missing after his car was swept away by a flooded rivulet in Chhapra village of Lodhika taluka. “Shah and his two drivers were returning to Rajkot when the car was swept away while crossing a causeway. While one of the drivers managed to swim to safety, Shah and the other driver are still reported missing and a rescue operation is on,” Lodhika police sub-inspector KK Gohil said.
In Jamnagar, authorities said Ramesh Aghara and his wife Manisha, residents of Jamjodhpur town, died after their car was swept away on Monday morning in a rivulet while trying to cross a submerged causeway near Samana in Jamjodhpur taluka.
“They were reportedly on their way to Rajkot when their car was swept away in a swollen rivulet. A farmer spotted their car stranded in the rivulet and informed us. We launched a rescue operation but the couple was found dead in their car downstream,” Dharmesh Kachhad, mamlatdar of Jamjodhpur said.
Dozens besides the highways, dozens of rural roads also witnessed a disruption of traffic due to water-logging or damage caused by floodwaters.
The heavy downpour led to water-logging in many parts of Rajkot and Jamnagar cities as well as in rural areas of the twin districts, forcing authorities to order schools and colleges shut during the day.
Bhupendra Patel who took charge as Gujarat Chief Minister on Monday discussed the situation with Janmagar district collector and instructed to airlift people stranded in floodwaters with the help of the Indian Air Force (IAF).
Around 1,300 people were moved to safer places from low-lying areas of Jungleshwar, Ramnathpara, Popatpara and Laludi Vokali in Rajkot city by 6 pm, Rajkot Municipal Commissioner Amit Arora said. Around 1,150 people were evacuated from vulnerable areas in Gondal, Lodhika, Rajkot rural and Upleta talukas of Rajkot district, Rajkot District Collector Arun Mahesh Babu said.
Babu said that the help of the IAF was sought to airlift people surrounded by floodwaters in the Kolithad and Vejalpur villages of Gondal taluka. “In view of heavy forecast rain till September 18, we have instructed mamlatdars in the district to shift people living in low-lying areas to safer places,” he said.
Arora said the civic body has intensified evacuation operation, anticipating a further rise in water level in the Aji River. “Water level in Aji dam is around 27.5 feet and there is inflow in the reservoir.
We are expecting the dam to overflow within a few hours and its floodwaters are likely to affect 16 localities along the bank of the river stretch in the city. Therefore, we are evacuating more people,” he said.
In Jamnagar district, a total of 4,200 people were evacuated, including around 1,500 from Jamnagar city, as rivers and streams were swollen following torrential rain, District Collector Sourabh Pardhi said.
“We sought the help of IAF to rescue around 100 people who were trapped in rural areas. The IAF deployed four helicopters to rescue people with the help of NDRF teams. The flood situation is serious in Banga, Dhudesia, Kunad, Khandhera, Alia, Modu and Shekhpat villages of Kalavad and Jamnagar rural talukas,” Pardhi said.
“Total two V5 and 4 chetak helicopters were deployed. Total 24 rescued till evening, all by V5. At some places, they refused to board. Weather is bad. Effort will continue tomorrow also,” a Defence source said about air evacuation in Jamnagar and Rajkot.
Jamnagar collector said that 17 out of 18 dams in the district were overflowing. In Rajkot, Aji-II, Aji-III and Bhadar-II were among the major dams from which water was being discharged in large volumes.
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