KHAMMAM: Even as the floodwaters recede, residents of Bhadrachalam are in dire straits. The flood victims, who are taking shelter in relief camps, complain about the lack of proper food. There is no power in most parts of the affected areas and the drinking water supply from Mission Bhagiratha has been stopped. While narrating their woes, those affected are unable to hold back their anger. Their main demand is that the flood bank construction is completed at the earliest to protect the entire town. Work on the flood bank, which was left halfway, is the only solution to protect the town from future floods, the residents say.
Though the floodwaters have started receding gradually from Saturday morning, the danger is not yet past. Officials said as there were no inflows from upper catchment areas as of now, the water levels would continue to recede and return to normal by Monday, provided there are no more rains in the coming days. Once the water level drops below 53 feet, the third warning level would be lifted, allowing the residents of the temple town to relax.
For now, the water level of 71.20 feet at 12 am on Saturday was reduced to 68.60 feet on Saturday at 6 pm. In the first, Yetapaka village in Andhra Pradesh was submerged due to water flowing over the flood bank. The entire village remained underwater. As many as 95 villages in the Bhadradri-Kothagudem district were submerged and officials shifted 20,922 people to 77 flood shelters.
Meanwhile, Bhadradri Ramayalam authorities performed a special puja to the river goddess to calm the raging river. Minister Puvvada Ajay Kumar and all other officials including Special Officers N Sridhar, Rajith Kumar Shinde and B Hanumantha Rao, district Collector D Anudeep and SP Vineeth G and others took a break from their relief duties and attended the pujas.
Elsewhere, hundreds of residents of Subashnagar Colony staged a protest standing on a flooded road. They demanded that the flood bank works are completed and permanent repairs made to the sluices. Residents said that they have been suffering every time the Godavari swells and find moving to flood shelters tough and a financial loss. “Despite our many requests to extend the flood bank and repairs to sluices, nothing has been done,” the protesters said.
Gastro cases were reported in relief camps at B’chalam
N Rama Rao, a Bhadradri resident, said: ‘’The government has constructed the flood bank till Government Degree College and left the Subashnagar and CRPF camp areas. As a result, we are facing problems every year.” He said that every year when the river swells, they are forced to move without taking any household items. “Nearly 90 per cent of residents here are poor and find it tough to rebuild their lives,” he said.
On Friday, flood water entered their houses from the sluice, forcing residents to rush out of their homes without carrying anything. They alleged the administration has failed to alert them in advance of floods.
After rushing to the relief camps, the victims are now unhappy over the poor facilities. The district administration has shifted as many as 20,000 persons to 77 flood shelters in the district. Most complaints about food and facilities are from shelters in Bhadrachalam town.
Officials shifted about 600 persons from 174 families to ZP high school in Bhadrachalam town. “There are no blankets and no space to sleep,” N Laxmamma of the Silpinagar colony said. He alleged that officials were providing only khichdi or upma. The officials were not providing rice, milk and curries, he alleged.“Children who consumed upma are now suffering from gastroenteritis,” another affected person said. Similar complaints come from other shelters.
Another victim N Ramana said: ‘’We are spending sleepless nights with our kids and are being attacked by mosquitoes. There are no blankets.” Some women complained that there are no bathrooms at flood shelters. Shortage of drinking water at some places was also a big problem, as the officials have stopped supplying Mission Bhagiratha water in flood-hit areas.