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Gujarat: Torrential rains trigger severe floods in Junagadh, state government and local authorities carry out massive rescue and relief operations

250 trapped people were rescued immediately, while about 750 people were shifted to safer places. As many as 20,000 food packets were prepared for distribution in waterlogged areas of Junagadh.

On Saturday 22nd July 2023, heavy rains on the Girnar Mountain in Junagadh resulted in water seeping into the city and inundating several areas of the city. Ever since the waterlogging started, officials of the administration, especially the Junagadh police, were on the job and started the work of rescuing the trapped people.

In Junagadh, excessive rainfall disrupted normal life, causing severe hardships for citizens due to waterlogging. The heavy rains lashed the Girnar hills, bringing water into the city and flooding most areas within hours of starting. Videos of the situation went viral on social media, showing water filling the society and vehicles and animals floating in the rushing streams.

In response to this situation, efforts were made to normalize public life. Rescue teams were kept on standby to provide assistance, and social organisations also extended their help.

The Junagadh Floods

There was heavy rainfall in Saurashtra and south Gujarat since the morning of 22nd July 2023. The worst affected were Navsari and Junagadh. In Navsari, many places were flooded and many roads in Junagadh have also been closed. On Saturday, Navsari recorded the highest rainfall in the entire state. By 4.30 pm, Navsari district had recorded 11.9 inches of rain. 5.2 inches of rainfall was recorded in Junagadh in just 2 hours (2 pm to 4 pm). Total rainfall in Junagadh on Saturday was recorded to be 8.6 inches. Karjan in Vadodara recorded 2.8 inches of rain, while Bhavnagar and Surat also recorded 2 inches of rain in two hours.

Several low-lying areas were flooded due to heavy rains in Navsari. On the other hand, there was a traffic jam on the National Highway passing through the city. Some videos from Navsari have been doing the rounds on social media in which gas cylinders can be seen floating in the rainwater. In one of the videos, it can be seen that a car parked next to it was crushed when a wall collapsed.

Some videos from Junagadh are also doing the rounds on social media and media, in which vehicles and cattle are seen getting washed away in the flowing water. In the video, there are scenes of the river flowing from the road. It is said that due to heavy rains on Girnar mountain, water entered the city and resurfaced in many areas.

In another video, it was seen that the water has reached the houses of the people in the society, during which vehicles were seen floating in the water.

Due to heavy rains, Junagadh municipal officials as well as the police force also descended on ground zero. Junagadh police chief Ravi Teja Vasam Shetty appealed to the people to stay at home and not venture out.

The Rescue Operations by the Local Police

A video from Junagadh went viral in which a car was seen flowing in the water flowing with full force and a person was also entangled with it. He was unable to gain control as the water flow was extremely forceful. However, he was later rescued by the Junagadh police. The police personnel also went into the running water and rescued the 50-year-old man and brought him back. Minister of State for Home Harsh Sanghvi lauded the performance of Junagadh Police and congratulated the police in a tweet.

In another case, the area near Wadala Phatak in the Vanthali police station area of Junagadh was flooded due to which the police personnel reached there and started the work of shifting the locals elsewhere. But during this time, people were not ready to come leaving the idol of the Goddess. Then the police rescued everyone along with the idol. In this way, the idol of the Goddess was also safely shifted to another place with these people.

In another video, Junagadh police personnel are seen carrying some children on their shoulders. The children were trapped in the flood water. They were rushed to a safer place by officials of the C division police station. A child and a pregnant woman were rescued safely by police personnel in the Ganeshnagar area of the city.

According to information given by the Junagadh collector, more than 10 inches of rain fell in the city due to which water was flooded. During this time, a total of 200 trapped people were rescued immediately, while about 750 people were shifted to safer places. As many as 20,000 food packets were prepared for distribution in waterlogged areas and the distribution of these packets started on 22nd July 2023 at night. He said that the situation is currently under control and the water is receding but the district administration is ready to deal with it even if there is more rain.

The Rescue Operations by the State Government

The State Agriculture Minister and Rajkot District In-charge Minister, Raghavji Patel, addressed the media regarding the situation of excessive rainfall in Junagadh. He mentioned that Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel was in Rajkot on July 22, 2023, for various programs. However, upon learning about the heavy rains in Junagadh, the Chief Minister immediately cut short all his engagements and rushed to the district collector’s office in Rajkot.

From there, Chief Minister Patel contacted the Junagadh Collector through the control room to assess the situation and instructed immediate relief and rescue operations for the affected people, ensuring their safe relocation. He also held discussions with the chief secretary regarding the matter. Despite his attempts to reach Junagadh directly from Rajkot, the road closures and low visibility prevented him from doing so. Consequently, he had to cancel all his programs and return to Gandhinagar.

According to reports, on July 22, 2023, Junagadh experienced approximately 9.5 inches of rainfall from 1 pm until evening, with Girnar receiving even more. Additionally, six talukas in Junagadh witnessed rainfall exceeding 5 inches, leading to waterlogging in low-lying areas. In response, the administration promptly began efforts to relocate people to safer areas. By the evening of 22nd July, around 250 people had already been evacuated, and the authorities had initiated arrangements for their accommodation and food.

In Junagadh, normal life was disrupted due to excessive rainfall. However, in response to the emergency situation, two companies of NDRF were dispatched immediately, and a third company was put on standby. Additionally, two teams of SDRF were also allocated to assist with the situation. The state government and district administration took all necessary steps to address the impact of the heavy rainfall in Junagadh, and they worked on a war footing to manage the situation. As part of the relief efforts, food packets were prepared for the affected people.

District Collector Prabhav Joshi reported that over 25,000 food packets were being prepared in collaboration with various social organisations to provide sustenance to those affected by the heavy rains in Junagadh. Special arrangements were made to ensure these food packets reached those in need. Additionally, Junagadh received assistance from five fire teams belonging to Rajkot Municipal Corporation and Gondal Municipality.

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