7 dead, several missing after flash flood in Jalpaiguri in Bengal
Kolkata: Seven people were killed and several others are missing after a flash flood in the Mal river near Malbazar in West Bengal Jalpaiguri district as local Durga Puja organizers gathered on the river bank for immersion of Durga idols on the occasion of Dussehra, police said.
Jalpaiguri District Magistrate Mumita Godara Basu confirmed the death toll as seven.
“Several people gathered on the banks of river Mal at 9 pm when the flash flood swept away several people. The administration immediately stopped the immersion of idols there. By late Wednesday evening, seven bodies had been recovered. Nearly 40 people were rescued who were swept away by the flash flood and stayed on a local island,” the district magistrate said.
Jalpaiguri District Superintendent of Police Debarshi Dutta said initially only two bodies were found and when rescue operations began, five more bodies were found.
“Rescue operations are being carried out by teams of the district police, the State Disaster Management Department and the National Disaster Response Force,” Dutta added.
However, state police sources said that because of the evening hours, the rescue teams were facing difficulties in the rescue operations.
“It will take a few more hours, at least until tomorrow morning, to assess the exact number of victims and missing people so far,” a district police official said.
He added that the exact number of the missing has not yet been determined.
Local Trinamool Congress MLA from Mal Assembly constituency Bulu Chik Baraik said that apart from the administration, local people are also helping the rescue teams in their operations.
“Evening hours make quick rescue operations difficult,” he added