Gujarat: Five killed as unprecedented rain batters Vadodara; 5,700 evacuated so far
(PTI Photo)

Ahmedabad/Vadodara: Five persons were killed and over 5,700 were evacuated from Vadodara city and surrounding areas in Central Gujarat which was battered by nearly 500 mm of rains in 24 hours till Thursday morning.

While roads were unusable due to water-logging and several trains were cancelled, operations at the Vadodara airport resumed late Thursday evening. Most parts of the city remained inundated till Thursday night in spite of intensity of rain decreasing, as waters of the Vishwamitri river started entering the city as it breached its banks. Several trains passing through the city were cancelled and roads in and around the city were submerged even late Thursday evening.

Water from the overflowing Vishwamitri entered several localities in the city, bringing with it a few crocodiles too. Four persons were killed in Bajwa area late Wednesday night after a wall collapsed. The body of an unknown man was recovered from Khodiyarnagar area Thursday, Vadodara district collector Shalini Agarwal told PTI. "The administration has shifted more than 4,500 people to safer places and evacuated 1200 persons who were stranded in houses due to water-logging," She said.

The city received a staggering 499 mm of rainfall in 24 hours ending 8 am on Thursday, official data showed. Of this, 286 mm of rain fell in just four hours, between 4 pm to 8 pm on Wednesday. Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani held a meeting in state capital Gandhinagar to take stock of the situation. Water from the Vishwamitri entered low-lying areas after Ajwa dam overflowed due to a heavy downpour upstream, he said.

Teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), State Disaster Response Force, two columns of Army and fire brigade have been pressed into service to help stranded people, Rupani said. "We have also decided to send five more NDRF teams to Vadodara," he said. Airport operations which were halted since Wednesday started late Thursday evening, officials said. Videos of police and NDRF personnel rescuing people flooded social media. One of them showed a policeman carrying a one-and-half-year-old girl in plastic tub while wading through five feet-deep water.

Sub-inspector Govind Chavda rescued the baby girl from Devipura locality near Vishwamitri railway station in the wee hours of Thursday. As the Vishwamitri is home to several crocodiles, some of them entered the city with floodwaters. Videos of crocodiles near housing societies were uploaded on social media. State Meteorological Department's director Jayanta Sarkar said the city received a record rainfall on Wednesday. Gujarat is likely to receive heavy rains in the next three days, he added.

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