Rain fury in Andhra Pradesh: 25 killed, dozens missing and 20,000 shifted to relief camps
Amaravati, Nov 21: Heavy rains under the influence of a low-pressure area in the Bay of Bengal left 25 persons, including a member of the State Disaster Response Force, killed in different districts of Andhra Pradesh since Friday, while 17 persons still remained missing, the state government said on Saturday.
The Indian Air Force, NDRF, SDRF, Police and Fire Services personnel saved at least 64 persons, including a police inspector, from the massive flash floods in Anantapuramu, Kadapa and Chittoor districts, the government said in a note.
In all, 17 teams of NDRF and SDRF were engaged the rescue and relief operations in the three flood-ravaged districts in Rayalaseema region, along with SPS Nellore in south coastal Andhra.
Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy conducted an aerial survey in Kadapa, Anantapuramu and Chittoor districts to assess the damage. He spoke to Collectors of Kadapa and Chittoor districts and obtained details about the devastation and asked the officials to conduct enumeration of the crop losses as soon as the floodwater receded. The government announced an ex gratia payment of Rs 5 lakh each to the kin of those killed.
The intensity of the rainfall reduced on Saturday, but brought little respite to people as several habitations remained marooned because of the flash floods. While the situation in Tirupati town still remained grim, with many areas inundated, the scene on the holy Tirumala Hills was relatively better, though pouring rain did inconvenience pilgrims. The Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams reopened the ghat roads for vehicular traffic, though the two stairways meant for pilgrims to trek the Hills remained closed. Pilgrims who booked tickets online were being allowed for darshan of Lord Venkateswara.
The deluge in the Chief Minister's native Kadapa district saw the Annamayya project getting breached and left a trail of destruction in many villages downstream under the Rajampet constituency.
More than 30 people were washed away from three villages along the Cheyyeru river course, where water from the Annamayya medium irrigation project gushed in. At one point on Friday, two lakh cusecs of floodwater flowed out of Annamayya project while its normal capacity was just two tmc ft. Kadapa, thus, reported the highest toll of 13 so far.
In Kadiri town in Anantapuramu district, a building under construction collapsed due to incessant rain and fell on an adjoining building, killing at least seven persons, including three children. Police and revenue authorities rescued seven more persons from the mishap site.
Nehru Yuva Kendra Sanghatan Vice-Chairman Vishnuvardhan Reddy expressed grief over the tragedy and blamed illegal constructions for the incident. He demanded action against the Kadiri municipal officials responsible for this and Rs 50 lakh each paid to the kin of the deceased. In Chittoor district, four persons were killed in rain-related incidents, according to the government.
In SPS Nellore district, a constable placed in the State Disaster Response Force at Vizianagaram drowned while carrying out a rescue operation in Damaramadugu village in SPS Nellore district.
Police said the SDRF was engaged in the rescue operation to save villagers stranded in the Somasila river flood when tragedy struck its own man. SPS Nellore district bore the brunt as a record flood discharge of over 3.32 lakh cusecs in Somasila left many villages marooned on Saturday.
A total of 243 relief camps were opened in the four districts where 20,923 persons evacuated from flood-hit areas were lodged. South Central Railway General Manager Gajanan Mallya inspected the Nandaluru-Rajampet section where the railway track was washed away under the impact of the flood in Cheyyeru. The SCR said in a release that track restoration works were going on in full swing.
The General Manager directed the officials to complete the restoration work on a war-footing following all standard safety norms.
Meanwhile, at least 10 Express trains have been cancelled on Saturday and Sunday due to flooding of the railway track in the Nellore-Padugupadu section in Vijayawada division. The state government said 1,549 houses, valued at over Rs five crore, were damaged while another 488 houses remained marooned.
Large damage to livestock was also reported as 612 heads of cattle were killed and 3,232 chickens perished.
About 1,791 small cattle like sheep and goat were also killed in the deluge, causing a total loss of over Rs 2.31 crore. Agricultural crops in over 2.33 lakh hectares and horticultural crops in about 20,000 hectares stood damaged, according to government data. Roads now lay completely battered in these districts. Many culverts, causeways and bridges suffered extensive damage due to the flash floods.