2.5 lakh people rescued as flood-like situation hits six districts of Bengal
Nearly 2.5 lakh people had to be rescued and relief material had to be rushed as a flood-like situation hit six districts in south Bengal due to heavy rainfall in the state and its neighbouring areas and release of water from barrages and dams.
A top official of the West Bengal government said that Indian Air Force choppers had to be deployed at Khanakul in Hooghly district to rescue people. At Khanakul in Hooghly a 101-year-old woman was rescued and taken to a relief shelter.
A low pressure, which triggered heavy rainfall in south Bengal last week moved in the northwest direction across Jharkhand and southern parts of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh triggering rain in the adjoining districts, said a senior official of the India Meteorological Department’s regional weather forecasting centre (RWFC) in Kolkata.
This prompted the Damodar Valley Corporation to release a huge amount of water from the barrages over the past few days. The water, flowing down the rivers, flooded multiple areas such as Udanarayanpur in Howrah, Khanakul in Hooghly and Ghatal in West Midnapore.
“We have shifted around 2.5 lakh people to rescue shelters in Hooghly, Howrah, Purba Bardhaman, Paschim Bardhaman, Paschim Medinipur, and South 24 Parganas districts. Over one lakh tarpaulin, around 1,000 MT of rice, thousands of drinking water pouches and clothes have been sent to the rescue shelters,” a senior official said.
Javed Ahmed Khan, disaster management minister and Dushyant Nariala, secretary of disaster management and civil defence could not be reached despite repeated attempts.
State panchayat minister Subrata Mukherjee visited some of the flood-hit areas of Ghatal in Paschim Medinipur to take stock of the situation.
“Some places have been completely inundated and thousands of people have been stranded. The chief minister has asked me to look into the matter. After conducting this survey, I will report to her,” he said.
A DVC official said that water was last discharged from its dams on July 31. The corporation had 1.14 lakh cusec of water on Saturday, he said.
“We haven’t yet estimated the loss incurred due to the flood. As of now, our sole priority is to rescue the affected,” the official underlined.
“Due to extremely heavy rainfall on July 30 and 31 at DVC area and in the upper reaches in Jharkhand and release of huge amount of water from the Tenughat dam by the Jharkhand government, DVC had to release up to 1.14 lakh cusecs on Saturday. This has now been brought down to 80,000 cusecs. The West Bengal government was informed beforehand that DVC would be releasing water from Maithon and Panchet dams,” said a senior official of DVC.
Water from several rivers, including Rupnarayan, Dwarakeswar, Shilabati rivers have overtopped banks and entered residential areas, flooding homes in districts. At Khanakul IAH choppers rescued around 27 people who were stranded.
At Ghatal, there were multiple breaches in the embankments of River Shilabati. The river water inundated several villages and the municipal area too. People had to take shelter in the first floor of two-storey houses.
At Udanarayanpur in Howrah at more than 40 villages were hit by water of the River Damodar. The water entered the villages through breaches in the embankments. At least 80 villages were inundated. There was knee-deep water at the campus of the state general hospital in Howrah.
At Kalimpong in north Bengal, three people, who were swept away on Friday when the water level in the River Mam Khola rose due to heavy rains, could not be traced even on Monday. Seven people working for the Sevoke-Rungpo railway project were swept away. While two died, two others were rescued and were undergoing treatment.