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Drenched Andhra struggles to stay afloat

Last updated on: October 3, 2009  IST

Situation improving in Andhra

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Massive relief and rescue operations, involving the Army, Air Force and Navy, are underway in the flood-battered Kurnool and Mehboobnagar districts of Andhra Pradesh, where thousands of people were marooned for the third consecutive day following torrential rains and unprecedented fury in the rivers of Krishna and Tungbhadra.

The flood situation in the region remained grim as water continued to overflow from Srisailam Dam and heavy inflows from the upper reaches of Karnataka continued unabated.

Also Read: Relentless rains lash northern Karnataka

Reportage: Mohammed Siddique in Hyderabad Photographs: Snapsindia


Image: A village devastated by floods

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Horror-filled night

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After a horror-filled night, which the residents of Kurnool spent on rooftops and hillocks to save their lives, rescue teams reached the flood-ravaged district to take them to safer places. Helicopters from the Air Force and other agencies dropped packets of food, drinking water, milk and bread to the people still stranded in several villages.

Nearly three lakh people had been evacuated from the five flood-affected districts of Kurnool, Mehbubnagar, Guntur, Krishna and Nalgonda, said Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister K Rosaiah.

Scenes of anger and frustration were witnessed at the relief camps as the victims accused the administration of apathy and failure in providing succour. They also alleged that the government failed to warn them about the floods and didn't evacuate them in time.


Image: The Srisailam Dam

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Army, Navy to the rescue

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Nearly 500 Army personnel with 45 boats were also involved in the rescue and relief operations, along with 8 boats and a large number of personnel from the Navy.

The road link between Hyderabad and Kurnool (National Highway No 7) remained cut off as water from river Krishna overflowed at the Beechupally bridge, and hundreds of vehicles remained stranded. The buses and trains, which pass through Mehboobnagar and Kurnool, were also disrupted.


Image: Kurnool district

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Water levels receding

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State Revenue Minister Dharmana Prasad Rao said that the death toll could not yet be ascertained because the attention of the government was completely focused on rescuing and evacuating the stranded victims.

Chief Minister K Rosaiah, who spent the night at the Secretariat, declared that the water levels had started receding in Kurnool.

He appealed to his Karnataka counterpart BS Yeddiyurappa to hold the water in Almatti and Narayanpur dams to the maximum capacity till the excess water in river Krishna flows out.


Image: Kurnool district

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Thousands remain stranded

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But with the rising level of inflows at its own dams, the Karnataka government has started discharging 3.8 lakh cusecs from the Almatti Dam and more than five lakh cusecs from Narayapur, leading to increase in the inflow at Srisailam Dam.

In the temple town of Mantralayam in Kurnool, where thousands of residents and hundreds of pilgrims were stranded on Friday, incidents of theft and robberies were reported.

Rajasekhar, a deputy superintendent in the railway police, who was stranded on the rooftop of a building with 15 others, said over the telephone, "Our building is submerged and there is no escape route. We can be rescued by helicopters and I appeal for urgent help".


Image: Kurnool district

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