22 people in Rajasthan's Jalore had climbed a tree to escape the floodwaters.
As floodwaters rushed through Rajasthan's Jalore district on Saturday afternoon, a family of seven, the youngest six months old, took shelter on a tree. They spent the next 40 hours there, clinging to branches and awaiting rescue. Over the last two days, Air Force helicopters tried twice, but could not reach them. They were finally rescued today by Air Force personnel who reached the area by boat.
The desperate Dalit couple and their five children were among about 22 people in the village who had climbed trees to escape the flood, said Rajendra Singh, the local magistrate.
The Air Force flew two helicopter sorties to the area, but the trees started shaking with the draught of the rotor blades and there was danger of the people falling, said Mr Singh. The Air Force personnel finally boarded boats of the National Disaster Response Force or NDRF and rescued all those stranded, he added.
"We tried to airlift them (those stuck on trees) yesterday but couldn't succeed. Now they have been rescued," said the state's home minister Gulab Chand Kataria, who has called Jalore the "main problem."
The district headquarters of Jalore has been completely cut off, with three state highways that connect it being under floodwaters. As seasonal rivers have overflowed following heavy rains, fields, farms and villages have turned into a solid mass of water. Roads have turned into rivers.
Crossing the water could be treacherous though, since though shallow, the water is flowing fast. In Udaipur district, two men have died while crossing a swollen river.
Besides Jalore, two other districts of Rajasthan, Pali and Sirohi, are heavily flooded. All three districts border Gujarat, where more than five districts have been inundated and Prime Minister Narendra Modi is conducting an aerial survey of flood-hit areas.
Three army columns have been deployed in Jalore, but the rescue teams are being airdropped. Only one column managed to make its way to Jalore via Barmer. Since morning, more than 40 people have been rescued in the state. Yesterday, 107 people were rescued from Pali district's Dhola village.
Schools have shut in parts of all three flood-hit districts.