Gujarat

Six dead as heavy rain batters Vadodara; airport shut, the army on standby

The city received 442mm of rain in just 12 hours between 8 am and 8 pm on Wednesday, the highest in Gujarat in the period, said a release by the state government

At least six people have died in rain-related incidents as torrential downpour lashed Gujarat’s Vadodara city till late Wednesday night, forcing authorities to shut down the airport and terminate or reschedule several trains.

The city received 442mm of rain in just 12 hours between 8 am and 8 pm on Wednesday, the highest in Gujarat in the period, said a release by the state government. Of this, 286mm of rain fell in just four hours ending at 8 pm, the release added.

“Strong winds, speed reaching 40-50 km, are likely to prevail over along and off Gujarat-Maharashtra-Goa coasts. Fishermen are advised not to venture into these areas,” the weather department said.

All schools and colleges have been ordered to remain shut on Thursday.

“The downpour has stopped in Vadodara. But still, there is heavy rain forecast for other parts of the state. The administration is alert and teams are standing by to tackle the situation,” chief minister Vijay Rupani said.

Rupani had held a high-level meeting on Wednesday to review the situation in the city and deputed two Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officers to provide guidance to the local administration.

A statement from the chief minister’s office said Rupani also appealed citizens to shift from low lying areas. Several teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) have been deployed to shift people from these areas to safer locations. The army is also on the standby.

“Reached State Emergency Operation Center, Gandhinagar, and held a review meeting with officials on heavy rain situation in Vadodara. Instructed officials to leave no stone unturned to counter any adverse situation,” the chief minister tweeted after the meeting.

Flights, trains affected

Western Railway tweeted on Thursday that trains are moving now but with a restriction on speed.

“There was waterlogging on tracks after heavy rains at Vadodara on 31/7/19, After the water has been receded to an extent, train movement has been started by clamping the points at some locations & with caution order ie restricted speed at Vadodara on 1/8/19 (sic),” Western Railway tweeted on Thursday.

Authorities had shut down the city’s railway station on Wednesday and canceled as many as 22 trains.

News agency Asian News International tweeted that operations have been halted at the Vadodara airport till 9 am on Friday due to heavy rains.

Evacuations

While Vadodara was inundated following the record downpour, Udera village in outskirts of the city has been worst affected. The lake in the village has swelled and some 200 people have been evacuated to safer places.

“Nearly 1,000 persons have been shifted from low-lying areas in outskirts to safer places,” residential collector Dilip Patel said.

Large parts of the city also lost power. At Lotus Children’s Hospital in Varasiya area, a police team rushed to supply diesel to keep the generator running as six children at the hospital were critical and needed constant oxygen supply.

Rains also lashed other parts of the state including Ahmedabad city and central Gujarat. IMD has forecast that several parts of Gujarat, including Saurashtra, would receive “heavy to very heavy rains” during the next two days.