Updated: August 05, 2021 06:30 AM GMT
Indian army rescuers carry a stranded villager to safety in Madhya Pradesh on Aug. 4. (Photo: AFP)
Millions of people have been badly hit by a major flood in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, which witnessed incessant rains for more than 36 hours during the last three days.
The Indian army, air force, National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) and State Disaster Relief Force (SDRF) are engaged in rescue and relief operations in the worst-affected Gwalior-Chambal region.
“The situation here is very bad. We are stranded in a flooded neighborhood and cut off from other areas,” Father John Xavier, former vicar general of Gwalior Diocese, told UCA News.
The priest, who is based at Datia district headquarters, said that “since July 31 we have been facing the fury of uninterrupted rain that caused rivers and dams to overflow, marooning several villages.”
State officials said close to 2,000 villages in the region have been inundated after a couple of dams opened their sluice gates to release excess water.
The ensuing floods washed away bridges and culverts, hampering the rescue and relief operations.
We are safe at home but it is impossible to move out as the entire area is heavily flooded
“We can now hear the hovering sound of helicopters flying above our heads in the middle of torrential rains,” Father Xavier said.
The priest said they were helpless and couldn’t do much to help affected people right away.
The state administration has accommodated flood-affected people in school buildings.
Manoj Gupta, the owner of a private school, said the situation remained grim. “We are safe at home but it is impossible to move out as the entire area is heavily flooded,” he told UCA News.
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh said more than 1,600 stranded people have been rescued, with five helicopters operating despite the inclement weather.
His government has not released any official data for casualties and other losses so far. But unconfirmed reports suggested that two people had been killed and 15 were missing.
Many parts of India have been experiencing heavy rains from the third week of July and close to 250 people have lost their lives in flood-related incidents.
Maharashtra in western India is one of the worst-affected states with more than 190 people dead in a landslide, house collapses and other incidents.
The states of West Bengal in the east, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir in the north and Karnataka in the south have also been affected by heavy rains this monsoon season.