GUJARAT, INDIA: In a catastrophic series of events, Gujarat, an Indian coastal state, has been battered by unseasonal rains and hailstorms since Sunday (26 Nov) morning. This severe weather has resulted in numerous casualties, injuries, and extensive damage across the region.
According to state government sources, lightning strikes have resulted in numerous fatalities, with more than 70 animals also perishing in the havoc unleashed by sudden thunderstorms across over 220 talukas. Standing crops have been severely affected, adding to the state’s agricultural woes.
The cyclonic circulation over the northeast Arabian Sea and adjoining Saurashtra and Kutch regions is cited as the cause of the ongoing rainfall, according to the India Meteorological Department (IMD) bulletin.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah expressed condolences for the lives lost due to the adverse weather conditions.
In a post on his X platform (formerly Twitter) account, @AmitShah, Shah conveyed deep sadness over the deaths and extended heartfelt condolences to those facing irreparable losses. He highlighted the active engagement of the local administration in relief work and offered prayers for the swift recovery of the injured.
The rains and hailstorms have particularly taken a toll on standing crops in the Saurashtra and South Gujarat regions. Additionally, the ceramic industry in Morbi district, Saurashtra, faced disruption as factories were compelled to shut down.
Gujarat Agriculture Minister Raghavij Patel announced plans for a comprehensive survey to assess the damage to crops and livestock.
Compensation will be provided to affected individuals based on the findings of the survey. Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel, currently on an official visit to Japan, directed officials to initiate a survey to assess the damages caused by the rains.
As per data from the State Emergency Operation Centre (SEOC), the death toll due to lightning strikes has risen to 27 across the state, with 23 reported injuries and 29 damaged houses.
Dahod district reported the highest number of deaths, with four casualties. Other districts, including Banaskantha, Bharuch, Tapi, and several others, also recorded fatalities.
Apart from the human toll, the sudden showers disrupted the ceramic industry in Morbi, forcing factories to remain closed.
On Monday (27 Nov), several districts in southern and northern Gujarat continued to receive rainfall, impacting the daily lives of residents.
The unseasonal rains brought a significant drop in temperature, with some areas experiencing departures of 2-7 degrees Celsius below normal.
The IMD predicts dry weather in the state from Tuesday onwards, with a subsequent rise in minimum temperatures.
Gujarat, familiar with the challenges of weather-related disasters, is now confronting the demanding process of recovery and rehabilitation following this latest tragic event.
The region has previously grappled with disasters caused by intense rainfall. In August 2020, Gujarat witnessed the loss of 14 lives within two days due to incidents linked to heavy rain and flooding.
Similarly, in August 2019, the state experienced 31 fatalities in incidents associated with torrential rains.
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