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Floods force thousands to evacuate in west India

September 25, 2013

AHMEDABAD, India (AP) — Massive flooding has forced thousands of people to evacuate villages in the west Indian state of Gujarat, where heavy rains and swollen rivers have inundated cities and closed off roads and railway lines, officials said Wednesday. At least three people have died.

One man was electrocuted in the main city of Ahmedabad, where people were wading through thigh-deep water on the streets and waterlogged cars and buses became stranded, said Chief Fire Officer M.F. Dastoor.

Farther south in the hard-hit district of Bharuch, two people were killed in flood-related incidents, said district official Avantika Singh.

Almost 14,000 people were evacuated from Bharuch’s villages, while thousands of others elsewhere in Gujarat were also sheltering in refuges.

Schools across the districts of Bharuch, Vadodara and Surat remained closed Wednesday, while fire brigades, police personnel and disaster response teams were working to rescue people.

In the city of Vadodara, animal activists said at least four crocodiles were recovered from roads and courtyards.

The floods followed heavy rains that caused rivers, including the Vishwamitri and the Narmada, to swell above levels considered safe.

In June, India saw some of its worst-ever flooding in the northern state of Uttarakhand, with more than 6,000 people killed. That death toll was worsened by the presence of tens of thousands of Hindu pilgrims visiting temples and vacationers to the mountains.

Update hourly