Heavy rains and thunderstorm have disrupted normal life in parts of Gujarat while the State government has recorded a total of 69 deaths, mostly due to lightning.

Gujarat revenue minister Rajendra Trivedi on Tuesday informed that a total of 69 deaths were reported in the State since the onset of the monsoon. "None of the deaths were caused due to carelessness of the authorities," Trivedi stated.

A total of 18 teams from the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) have been deployed in the State besides 18 platoons from State Disaster Response Force (SDRF). Trivedi informed that as the rain waters caused flooding in the low-lying areas in several districts, about 28,000 people were shifted to safer places. Out of this, about 18,000 are currently under relief camps, while nearly 9700 people have returned to their places after waters have receded.

The State expects more rains in the coming five days. In a statement on Tuesday, Gujarat relief commissioner, P Swaroop stated that in the likely possibility of heavy to very heavy rains in the regions of South Gujarat and Saurashtra-Kutch, the authorities in those districts have already been directed to implement precautionary measures such as shifting of the people from the low-lying areas to the safer places and make adequate arrangements for their shelter and food.

The weather watch group's meeting was held at State Emergency Operation Centre at Gandhinagar. About 13 districts including Devbhoomi Dwarka, Jamnagar, Rajkot, Morbi, Kutch, Chhota Undpur, Bharuch, Narmada, Surat, Tapi, Dang, Navsari and Valsad are likely to receive heavy to very heavy rains between July 13 to July 17. Each of the districts has been allotted one NDRF and SDRF.

Meanwhile, the Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel on Tuesday visited the badly-affected districts of South Gujarat including Chhota Udepur, Narmada and Navsari to take stock of the situation and preparedness for more rains.

Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel assesses damages due to the heavy rains in parts of South Gujarat.

Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel assesses damages due to the heavy rains in parts of South Gujarat.

Total average rainfall in the State was recorded at 363.22 mm or 42.7 per cent of the long period average of 850 mm till the morning of July 12.

Kutch district has received an average of 343 mm rainfall, which is 75 per cent of the LPA, while the North Gujarat region has received only 23 per cent of the season's rainfall so far.

South Gujarat region has received over 52 per cent, Saurashtra at 44 per cent and East and Central Gujarat region has received 36 per cent of the season's average rainfall so far.

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