Floods threaten Andhra, Karnataka; toll crosses 200

Floods threaten Andhra, Karnataka; toll crosses 200

A 500 m-long bridge across Tungabhadra river, 32 km from Raichur, was washed away in flood

Floods threaten Andhra, Karnataka; toll crosses 200

A woman cries after failing to enter her submerged house at Garlapadu village, about 180 kilometers (112 miles) away from Hyderabad, India, Sunday, Oct. 4, 2009.

Over 50 villages in Andhra Pradesh were submerged today following unprecedented flooding of the Krishna river in a century but water levels in the other badly affected areas in the state and in Karnataka receded even as the administration battled against odds to reach relief to millions of victims.

The death toll in the two states devastated by the unseasonal rains in northern Karnataka and floods downstream crossed the 200 mark.

Many colonies along the left bank of Krishna river in Vijayawada city got submerged as the flood level touched four feet this evening. The situation is expected to remain grim till Wednesday as the flood discharge at Prakasam Barrage will continue to be over 11 lakh cusecs, officials said.

UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi undertook an aerial survey of the ravaged areas in Bellary district and Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa, who accompanied her, said the state suffered an unprecedented damage exceeding Rs 20,000 crore.

Torrential rains left a trail of death and destruction in 15 districts of Karnataka damaging over two lakh houses in 1,467 villages subsided since yesterday. The official toll in Karnataka was put at 194 while Andhra Pradesh registered 39 deaths.

Bijapur district bore the brunt of the rain fury with 31 deaths followed by Raichur and Bagalkote (26 each). Over 4.53 lakh people have been sheltered in 13,330 relief camps.

A 500 m-long bridge across Tungabhadra river, 32 km from Raichur, was washed away in flood waters, officials said.

The Krishna river experienced the heaviest flood since 1903, when it had 10.30 lakh cusecs of flood waters.

The water level touched 21.4 feet at Prakasam Barrage and all the 72 crest gates have been lifted to let out water into Bay of Bengal. Irrigation authorities said the current flood discharge at Nagarjuna Sagar has been reduced to 10.3 lakh cusescs from 11 lakh cusecs yesterday.

In Krishna district, two children drowned in the swirling river at Patayedlalanka village near Avanigadda while nine adults swam to safety after the boat in which they were travelling capsized late this evening.

The villagers were moving to a nearby relief camp from their village when the mishap occurred. National Disaster Response Force personnel have been on duty in this part of the district to evacuate trapped villagers to safety. District authorities said more than 1.5 lakh people have already been moved to relief camps.  Some villages got marooned but there is no threat to any one as such. In such cases we are sending food and other relief material to the trapped people.

Meanwhile, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister K Rosaiah urged the Centre to consider the devastating floods in the state as a national calamity and provide Rs 6,000 crore for relief works immediately. In a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Rosaiah said the preliminary estimate of damages due to heavy rains and floods arrives at Rs 12,225 crore.

The Centre stepped up relief and rescue operations in both the states where the fury unleashed by the retreating monsoon have claimed over 240 lives and caused widespread destruction of property.

The Centre rushed in additional trained personnel and more motorised boats to help rescue operations in five districts each of the two states bearing the brunt of incessant rains and flooding.