Torrential rains claimed at least 13 lives across Gujarat during the last 72 hours and the Army was called out on Thursday in flood-ravaged Vadodara district to help the local administration, even as heavy rain continued to lash western Saurashtra and Kutch, that is perennially known to be a drought-prone region.

Senior Gujarat Minister Nitin Patel, who is also the government spokesperson, said 13 people had died. He added that 80 jawans of the Army had been pressed into service in Vadodara to assist the district administration.

Rajkot city, the epicentre of Saurashtra region, recorded as much as 20 inches of rainfall during the last 36 hours. All 15 dams had remained dry throughout the monsoon season, creating a severe drinking water crisis for the people but now the administration said it would be able to supply water for at least half an hour everyday.

More than 3,000 people in the Saurashtra were evacuated throughout the day. All the major rivers in the region, including Bhadar, Machhu, Nyari and Ozat, are in spate. As much as 1.61 lakh cusecs of water was being released from the dam till Thursday evening.

Many villages across Junagadh, Porbandar, Jamnagar, Amreli and Bhavnagar districts were marooned while the Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation (GSRTC) cancelled all buses from theses cities due to flooding rivers. Traffic movement on the busy Jamnagar-Porbander route was almost stopped as rain waters swept the State highways. Road transport, more than rail, is the staple for commuters across the Saurashtra and Kutch region.

However, many Saurashtra-bound trains were also cancelled. Rescue operations were launched on a war-footing with the help of helicopters and boats. The meteorological department has predicted heavy to very heavy rains during the next 48 hours in the region.

Heavy rains were also reported across various talukas of Kutch district, including the Kandla Port.

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