Bengal: 8 die in flash flood during Durga idol immersion
At least eight persons drowned and several others went missing after a flash flood hit Mal river in Jalpaiguri district of West Bengal when hundreds of people had gathered at the river bank for Durga idol immersion on Wednesday night. Jalpaiguri district magistrate Moumita Godara said that nearly 50 people had been rescued and search operations were started downstream.
Why does this story matter?
- The Durga Puja is widely considered the most important festival in West Bengal and the surrounding region.
- The celebrations come to a close after five days on Dussehra when people take out processions to immerse the idols of Goddess Durga bidding farewell to the deity.
- Devotees throng water bodies for immersion often leading to such tragedy.
Video shows horrific scenes while most people stood helpless
Extremely tragic incident reported in Jalpaiguri district where several people washed away by sudden flash flood in MAl river during Durga idol immersion tonight. Seven dead and many missing so far. pic.twitter.com/7AvJVbQYNZ— Anupam Mishra (@Anupammishra777) October 5, 2022
4 women among those deceased
There are four women among those deceased. Reportedly, an abrupt surge of current swept people away while they were in ankle-deep water. Videos of the incident show people scrambling over to the banks as fresh current arrived. Teams of the National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF), State Disaster Relief Force (SDRF) along with the police and administration are carrying out search and rescue operations.
Warning from administration could have averted incident: Locals
The incident occured at Malbazar around 9:15 pm. Residents said a warning from the administration could have helped avoid the mishap. The state's Backward Classes Welfare minister and MLA from Mal constituency, Bulu Chik Baraik was present there during the incident and feared that the death toll could rise. Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his condolences to the kin of the deceased.
The current washed away vehicles carrying idols
This is the moment when the flash flood came. People were gathered for the idol immersion but suddenly the river washed away everything!— Sandeep Kumar (@sandeep_suga) October 5, 2022
Cloud burst has claimed 7 lives till now. Many people missing in Mal river. Rescue on#Malbazar #WestBengal #Flashflood #Jalpaiguri pic.twitter.com/I5EdXEyMDt
Heavy rains in Kalimpong hills led to the flash flood
Rivers in the Dooars region like Mal get flooded due to heavy rains in the Himalayan foothills. There was a heavy downpour in Kalimpong hills in north Bengal when the incident happened. The devotees were unaware of the surge in water level upstream. The water level increased from six inches to over three feet within a few seconds, reported Hindustan Times.