Thousands rescued in flood-hit western India

Swollen Narmada and allied rivers inundate two districts of Gujarat state, cutting off villages and destroying homes.

    India's overflowing Narmada River and allied rivulets have inundated Vadodara and Bharuch districts of the western Gujarat state.

    Thousands of locals have been rescued by authorities, many of whom have had their homes and business establishments destroyed and their farmlands washed away.

    "We [the local administration] have rescued and shifted 22,000 people to relief camps as heavy rains since the last three days have caused floods in Vadodara," Vinod Rao, Vadodara district collector, said on Wednesday.

    Villages stood cut off from the rest of the province with breached roads, damaged bridges and highways buried under mud.

    Several of the flood victims were brought to the relief camps, where they were being provided with food and other supplies by local administrative authorities.

    Rescued residents at the relief camps said they had lost almost all their belongings. They had become homeless since there was hardly any time to save their belongings from being washed away by the gushing flood waters, said one of the rescued residents.

    In pockets of south and western regions of the state, which had drought in the past, more intense rains have led to higher coverage this year for crops such as corn, pulses and oilseeds.

    "Since the last four days in Gujarat, especially in central and southern Gujarat heavy rainfall is taking place. The total rainfall has been more than 40 centimetres," Nitinbhai Patel, Gujarat's family welfare and health minister, said.

    The monsoons India experiences from June to September are vital for its agriculture.

    But the rains frequently affect millions of people, devastating crops and homes and sparking outbreaks of diseases such as diarrhoea and dysentery.

    Poor management of water levels in dams has also led to huge volumes of water being released into rivers.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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