Berhampur Villagers cross a submerged road in Gadhad dam area in flood-hit Berhampur on Friday. (PTI photo)
Incessant rains have claimed as many as 29 lives in Andhra Pradesh during the past four days while more than 72,000 people have been evacuated from low-lying areas.
The rain and flood-battered southern state is unlikely to get respite anytime soon as the Met department has forecast heavy downpour in the next 48 hours.
According to an official note from the Commissioner, Disaster Management, more than 72,000 people were evacuated from low-lying areas in nine districts. Also, crops spread over 5.64 lakh hectares and 6,597 houses had been damaged.
The Government has set up 178 relief camps in nine districts, including 36 in Srikakulam.
Hundreds of villages across Andhra Pradesh remained submerged, while road and rail routes were affected as the rain fury continued today.
Rain-related incidents like drowning and wall collapse have claimed 29 lives so far. Prakasam district accounted for the maximum deaths at six, followed by Guntur (5), Mahabubnagar (4), Hyderabad, Kurnool (three each), Vizianagaram, East Godavari, Nalgonda and Warangal (2 each), the statement said.
Besides, two persons have been reported missing in Visakhapatnam district.
River Krishna was in spate following which 3.15 lakh cusecs of water is being discharged into Bay of Bengal from Prakasam Barrage in Vijayawada.
Vast stretches of Vijayawada-Hyderabad Highway were submerged in floodwaters, leading to traffic diversion.
Rail track at Bommayipalli on the Secunderabad-Guntur section was damaged and repairs were being carried out. All important trains on this route are being diverted via Warangal and Vijayawada, official sources said.
The East Coast Railway has cancelled Bhubaneswar- Bengaluru Prasanthi Express and Bhubaneswar-Visakhapatnam Express trains due to heavy rains. The Puri-Tirupati Express and Coromandel Express also stands cancelled, they said.
A dozen teams of National Disaster Response Force are carrying out relief operations in Srikakulam, Guntur, West Godavari, Nalgonda, Prakasam and Mahbubnagar, they added.
Vehicular traffic has been thrown out of gear as 900 km road stretch has been marooned. As many as 117 minor irrigation tanks were damaged in the rain-ravaged districts.
Tens of village tanks have suffered breaches inundating settlements and crops.
Meanwhile, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy today asked District Collectors to distribute ex-gratia to the kin of those killed in rain-related incidents and also step up relief operations by supplying essential commodities.
The CM spoke to Revenue Minister Raghuveera Reddy, who was touring rain-ravaged areas in Bapatla, Guntur district, over phone.
Kiran also reviewed the situation with some of the Ministers, Chief Secretary P K Mohanty and other senior officials at his camp office here. He asked the officials to take up restoration works on a war-footing and promised all necessary help to the affected people.
He wanted strengthening of minor irrigation tanks to be taken up on a top priority, said a release from the Chief Minister's Office (CMO).
Kiran directed officials of the departments concerned to enumerate the losses by constituting special teams and report to the Government so that necessary assistance could be extended to farmers and other victims, it said.
As many as 3,230 villages in 16 districts were badly affected due to torrential rains and 6,600 houses damaged, Disaster Management Commissioner T Radha said.
He said 405 minor irrigation tanks and 935km length of roads had been damaged while breaches occurred to canals in different districts.
With heavy to very heavy rains at a few places and extremely heavy rains at isolated places forecast in coastal AP, Rayalaseema and Telangana in the next 48 hours, the Chief Minister directed the official machinery to remain on alert.
As the district officials are busy supervising relief operations, Kiran would take a decision tomorrow on his tour of rain-hit districts, the release said.
Meanwhile, a flood alert has been sounded in Krishna district due to rising water level in river Krishna. People residing in low-laying areas near the river have been asked to move to safer places.
D Harichandana, Sub-Collector, Vijayawada, visited vulnerable areas and is monitoring the situation.
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