Gujarat flood toll reaches 111, thousands relocated

26 Jul 2017


Floods caused by torrential rains since 1 June have claimed at least 111 lives across Gujarat till date, with 17 dead bodies recovered from Khariya village in Banaskantha district on Tuesday.

More than 30,000 people have been relocated from low-lying areas in Gujarat while people stranded on rooftops and trees were evacuated in Rajasthan on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi conducted an aerial survey of the flood-hit districts in Gujarat, and announced a Rs500-crore relief package for immediate assistance in addition to Rs2 lakh compensation to the kin of those who have died so far.

Heavy rains since Friday have caused floods and flood-like situations across India, killing scores of people and leaving several hundreds homeless.

While some states like Gujarat and Rajasthan are seeing a rising death toll because of the extreme weather, the situation is reportedly improving in other states like Assam.

''Of these 58 deaths have been due to floods and as waters recede we could expect the total death to increase. Among other deaths, 33 deaths were due to lightening, six were electrocuted, 14 lost their lives due to wall collapse and other reasons,'' Bhupendrasinh Chudasama, revenue minister of Gujarat, said.

The minister said that over 53,000 people have been moved to safety since 21 July. Of these 34,043 persons belonged to worst affected Banaskantha and Patan districts of North Gujarat, he said.

''As many as 43,056 persons have, meanwhile, been relocated from across Banaskantha, Sabarkantha, Patan, Aravalli, Ahmedabad, Dahod and Mehsana districts. We are also in the process of distributing over six lakh food packets to the affected people,'' he said.

Meanwhile, 18 NDRF teams, 11 of SDRF, 3 columns of Army, 10 helicopters of IAF and local administration have rescued a total of 1,930 persons since 21 July.

''NDRF rescued 450 persons on Tuesday, 56 on Wednesday; IAF 114 on Tuesday, and 40 on Wednesday, while Army rescued 580 persons on Tuesday and 214 on Wednesday,'' the minister said.

As many as 778 villages in Banaskantha and Patan districts continue to be without electricity supply.

''We shall try and restore electricity to these villages at the first given instance as we had done in Chotila, Morbi and Tankara, where power supply has now been restored completely,'' he said. These districts in Saurashtra too had over 400 villages without power due to heavy rains last week.

At least five national highways, 153 state highways and 674 Panchayat roads remained closed for vehicular traffic due to floods, affecting the relief and rescue operations.

The state, meanwhile, continued to see relatively milder amount of rains on Wednesday, with an average rain of seasonal rains reaching 555.2 mm or 68.52%. This was 66% till Tuesday evening. Sabarkantha in North Gujarat received highest rains in the state at 219 mm, followed by Banaskantha with 150 mm of rains.

A total of 31 of the 203 dams in the state were completely full with water, with 41 others between 70%-100% capacity and 131 less than 70% capacity.

Talking about the immediate relief of Rs 500 crore announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday, after he had carried out an aerial survey and reviewed the relief & rescue operations, Chudasama said that it was interim relief and more could come later.

''The Centre has assured us that we would be provided more financial aid once the survey of loss to life and material is carried out. The Central agencies are also expected to arrive to aid us with survey work soon,'' he added.

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