Floods threaten Vijayawada, many Andhra villages (Lead)October 5th, 2009 - 5:38 pm ICT by IANS
Hyderabad, Oct 5 (IANS) Andhra Pradesh’s Vijayawada city and hundreds of villages in Krishna and Guntur districts faced the prospect of massive floods Monday with the water level in the Prakasam barrage across the Krishna river reaching the maximum level.
The inflows in the barrage have crossed a record million cusecs, inundating parts of Vijayawada, one of the state’s biggest cities with 1.2 million people, located on the banks of the river. Thousands of people are still being evacuated from villages downstream.
The weakening embankments at few points along the river course have raised the spectre of inundation of vast areas and authorities have mobilised 300,000 sand bags to strengthen the embankments.
The water level at the barrage, the last irrigation project across Krishna river before it falls in the Bay of Bengal, stands at 21.5 feet.
Though authorities said there was no threat to the barrage, the weakening embankments at a few points were worrying.
The barrage has never faced such massive inflows in its history and officials termed it the worst floods in Krishna river in 100 years.
“There is three to four feet water in some areas along the river in Vijayawada city and this may go up to six to seven feet later in the day. We have already moved out of the area near the river,” Suresh Kumar, a resident, told IANS.
About 200,000 people in areas within about two kilometres of the river bank have been moved to safer places. Villages near Vijayawada along the river bank have also come under water and 40,000 people shifted to relief camps.
Krishna District Collector Piyush Kumar said army, navy and the National Disaster Response Force were ready to rescue people with 100 boats and six helicopters in the district.
Vehicular traffic on Hyderabad-Vijayawada highway came to a standstill as the highway was under water at several points.
However, receding water levels at Srisailam dam and in the tributaries of Krishna have provided some respite to Kurnool and Mahbubnagar, where 1.1 million people have been affected. Kurnool had been submerged two days ago and is still under four to five feet of water. In Mahbubnagar too, many people are still trapped in flood waters.
According to official figures, the floods have so far claimed 49 lives in five districts. Kurnool district accounted for 26 deaths while 17 people died in Mahbubnagar. The remaining deaths were reported from the districts of Krishna (three), Nalgonda (two) and Guntur (one).
About 500 villages were inundated by the floods that impacted over 1.8 million people in five districts. About 70,000 houses were damaged in five districts while over 400,000 people were rendered homeless.
The state government has doubled the compensation for the families of the victims to Rs.200,000.
Revenue and Relief Minister Dharmana Prasada Rao said the state government had done well to keep the loss of lives to the minimum. “In neighbouring Karnataka over 200 people were killed in heavy rains and floods while despite facing worst-ever floods the death toll in our state is under 50,” he said.
“Experts have told us that such calamity occurs once in 1,000 years. There is no official record of a disaster of such magnitude,” he said.
The state has estimated the loss due to the floods at Rs.12,225 crore and sought immediate assistance of Rs.6,000 crore from the centre.
United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi, who Monday conducted an aerial survey of the flood-hit areas, assured all possible assistance from the centre.
The state government urged the centre to declare the floods a national calamity. This will enable the state to avail assistance under the National Calamity Contingency Fund.
- Breaches in Krishna embankments flood more Andhra villages - Oct 06, 2009
- Swollen Krishna threatens Vijayawada, many villages with floods (Second Lead) - Oct 05, 2009
- Breaches in Krishna embankments flood more villages(Lead) - Oct 06, 2009
- Karnataka, Andhra seek Rs.16,000 crore as floods wreak havoc (Roundup) - Oct 05, 2009
- Indundation threat over Vijayawada, many Andhra villages - Oct 05, 2009
- Flood situation eases in Andhra Pradesh, 52 dead (Lead) - Oct 06, 2009
- Three Andhra towns, 200 villages still under flood waters - Oct 04, 2009
- Vijaywada turns into island as floodwaters of Krishna River swells - Oct 05, 2009
- No respite from Andhra floods, Karnataka seeks rehab help (Roundup) - Oct 06, 2009
- Dozens of villages in coastal Andhra still submerged - Oct 07, 2009
- Andhra flood situation stays grim - Oct 03, 2009
- Kurnool town still under water, Vijayawada threatened (Lead) - Oct 03, 2009
- Unprecedented inflows in Srisailam triggered Andhra floods: Minister - Oct 02, 2009
- Andhra flood situation grim, respite in Karnataka (Afternoon Lead) - Oct 03, 2009
- Respite in rain-hit Karnataka and Andhra, toll 190 (Roundup) - Oct 03, 2009
Tags: army navy, banks of the river, bay of bengal, cusecs, disaster response, embankments, guntur, irrigation project, krishna district, massive floods, national disaster, piyush, prakasam barrage, relief camps, response force, sand bags, suresh kumar, vehicular traffic, vijayawada city, worst floods