AP rain toll rises to 28

Disaster management teams pressed into service

With this, the number of deaths caused by incessant rains in the state has touched 28. Tewnty-three other people were reported missing across some of the littoral districts of the state.

While three persons, who could manage to swim to safety, were rescued, the bodies of 12 persons were recovered by rescue workers in Pittambanda on a day when all coastal districts of Andhra Pradesh continued to experience heavy rain. The three who were rescued have been identified as Anil, Koteswara Rao and Potharaju. The family members of Koteswara and Potharaju are said to have drowned.

According to Vinukonda Rural Circle Inspector B Nageswara Rao, the driver of the SUV, in which the families were travelling, did not heed the villagers’ advice to avoid going close to the overflowing stream. The two families were going from Karampudi to Addanki in Prakasam district after participating in a government-sponsored cultural festival.

 As the low-pressure depression over the Bay of Bengal crossed the Andhra coast near Bapatla on Wednesday morning, cold winds and heavy downpour continued in the coastal districts. The rain also damaged tanks and roads, leading to inundation of low-lying areas and affecting the movement of vehicular traffic.

Disaster Management Commissioner Radha said nearly 634 villages in 210 mandals in five districts and over 1.5 lakh people were affected. Standing crops over 3.67 lakh hectares were damaged, with Guntur being the worst affected. “Cotton crop on 1.7 lakh hectares is the worst hit,” according to the official. According to sources, nearly 20 per cent of the paddy crop in the state was fully damaged in the affected districts due to the rain which partially or fully submerged several paddy fields in low-lying areas of these districts.

Relief measures

Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy, who reviewed the situation, said National Disaster Response Force battalions directed to be on standby for deployment for relief and rescue operations. Teams from the Army and the Indian Air Force have also been placed on alert. Five senior IAS officials with experience in relief and rehabilitation activities have been despatched to the affected districts for monitoring and supervising relief activities.
The chief minister also said alternative communication networks like HAM radio networks and satellite phones were at the disposal of the authorities in the districts.

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