2 children among 8 drowned in flash floods during Durga Puja immersion at Jalpaiguri in Bengal

About 30-40 persons who were stuck in the middle of a river were rescued by the district administration

October 06, 2022 12:49 am | Updated 11:25 am IST - Kolkata:

The flash flood occurred on the banks of river Mal where hundreds of people had gathered for immersion of idols. Photo: @SuvenduWB

The flash flood occurred on the banks of river Mal where hundreds of people had gathered for immersion of idols. Photo: @SuvenduWB

Eight persons died in a flash flood during immersion of Durga Puja idols at Jalpaiguri district in West Bengal on Wednesday evening, said District Magistrate Moumita Godara Basu.

The deceased persons included an eight-year-old boy and a girl, aged 13, an official said, adding that among the other six were three women.

Fifteen people, who received injuries, were admitted to a nearby hospital, the official said.

The mishap occurred when hundreds of people had gathered along the banks of river Mal on Wednesday evening for the immersion of idols. The District Magistrate said that there was no local prediction of rainfall but suddenly the water in the river rose, perhaps because of rainfall in higher areas like Sikkim.

About 30-40 persons who were stuck in the middle of the river were rescued by the district administration. The district administration had temporarily called off the immersion at the spot where flash floods occurred. Rescue operations are under way, the DM said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed grief over the incident.

“Anguished by the mishap during Durga Puja festivities in Jalpaiguri, West Bengal. Condolences to those who lost their loved ones,” the Prime Minister’s Office said on Twitter.

Trinamool Congress MLA Bulu Chik Baraik, who represents the Mal constituency, said that the tragedy occurred at around 8.30 p.m. on Wednesday. “Thousands had gathered on the banks of the river and suddenly the water rose. People had no time to rush to higher ground. Many were swept away,” the MLA said. Videos from the site showed people running to safey while some of them were swept away.

In Murshidabad district, three people drowned after falling from boats during immersion of idols in a river.

Though there has been little rain in the area for the last few days, downpour has been reported in the higher reaches and in the Bhutan hills.

Mal river originates in the hills, and the water accumulated in the higher reaches owing to the heavy rain there caused the flash floods, sources said. It merges with the Teesta river in the region. 

With inputs from PTI

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