Andhra floods toll mounts to 70, officials say situation grim (Lead)

August 10th, 2008 - 7:19 pm ICT by IANS  


Hyderabad, Aug 10 (IANS) The flood situation in Andhra Pradesh continued to be grim Sunday with continuous rains claiming as many as 70 lives over the past five days, officials said Saturday. The toll could go up sharply as 31 people were feared dead when a truck they were riding to reach their village was washed away in the flood waters in Guntur district Sunday. Four bodies have so far been recovered from the stream.

Heavy rains and flash floods since Tuesday have caused widespread devastation in Hyderabad and eight other districts in coastal Andhra and the Telangana region.

As many as 57 people have died since Friday and hundreds have been rendered homeless. Thirteen people had died between Tuesday and Friday.

Hyderabad accounted for 14 deaths while 13 other people were killed in the Krishna district. Nine deaths were reported from Guntur. Seven people were killed in West Godavari, four in Nalgonda, three in Medak, two each in Visakhapatnam, Khammam and Warangal and one in Karimnagar district.

More than 50 residential colonies in Hyderabad city and dozens of villages in the eight districts remain under water as several rivulets and water tanks were either overflowing or have breached.

Normal life has came to a grinding halt in the affected districts. With some roads under water, vehicular traffic between major towns remained paralysed. Hundreds of vehicles were stranded on the Hyderabad-Vijayawada and the Bhadrachalam-Vijayawada roads.

The Visakhapatnam Cyclone Warning Centre said Saturday that heavy rains were likely in north coastal Andhra and Telangana regions. The low pressure area over the Bay of Bengal turned into a well marked depression and lay centred close to the Orissa coast.

Some places are likely to receive more than 25 cm of rainfall. During the last two days, places like Hyderabad received 20 cm of rainfall.

Authorities have warned people living in low-lying areas to move to safer places while fishermen were advised not to venture out to the sea.

Officials have termed the situation “quite serious” as Kapra dam in Guntur district breached, threatening low-lying areas.

The water level in Vamsadhara and Nagavali rivers in Srikakulam district in north coastal Andhra has been rising alarmingly due to heavy inflows from neighbouring Orissa.

Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, who reviewed the situation at a high-level meeting, asked officials to be on alert in view of the rain forecast. He asked ministers in-charge of the districts and collectors to take all steps to provide relief to the affected.

The authorities have set up 75 relief camps for the people evacuated from marooned areas. The chief minister has asked officials to provide 20 litres of rice and five litres of kerosene to every family.

He told newsmen that the rains have damaged crops over 127,000 hectares of land. He said 811 tanks were breached in the affected districts.

Hyderabad bore the brunt of the natural calamity with 14 people losing their lives, mostly in house collapses. As many as 52 residential areas in and around the state capital were inundated as 20 tanks and several major storm water drains overflowing.

Boats were pressed into service in the city Saturday to rescue people from marooned areas.

Although the rains receded since Saturday night, hundreds of houses remained under water. The water level in the Hussain Sagar in the heart of the city rose alarmingly due to heavy inflows.

The level in this 400-year-old old lake, which has a capacity of up to 515 feet, has crossed 513 feet.

Several areas along the outflow channel are facing threat of inundation as the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corp (GHMC) let out the water. Water was flowing over the bridges on the outflow channel, bringing traffic to a standstill. The water level in the Musi river, which flows through the city, is also on the rise.

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