AP flood situation still fierce

No let up: Swollen Krishna threatens Vijayawada

A man sits atop his house in a flood affected village in Mehboobnagar district of Andhra Pradesh on Monday. PTI

The authorities are constantly monitoring the level at the Prakasam barrage across the Krishna river and they said if Monday night passed without much damage to the 200 villages downstream in the two districts the threat would be averted. Officials are describing it as the worst floods in the Krishna river in 100 years.

The focus of the flood threat has now shifted to the coastal areas. Kurnool and Mahboobnagar districts, which bore the brunt of the flood fury during the last four days, are struggling to return to normalcy. Though the officials have put the death toll at 49, it could go up as dozens of people are still reported missing.

The inflows in the Prakasam barrage have crossed a record million cusecs, inundating parts of Vijayawada, one of the state’s biggest cities with 1.2 million people, located on the banks of the river. Dozens of villages downstream have submerged while thousands of people are being evacuated. More than 200,000 people have been evacuated in Krishna and Guntur districts.

The weakening embankments at a few points along the river have raised the spectre of inundation of vast areas and authorities have mobilised 300,000 sand bags to strengthen the embankments. The water level at the barrage, the last irrigation project across the Krishna river before it joins the Bay of Bengal, stands at 21.5 feet. Though authorities said there was no threat to the barrage, the weakening embankments at a few points was worrying. The barrage has never faced such massive inflows in its history.  “There is three to four feet water in some areas in Vijayawada city and this may go up to six to seven feet later. We have already moved out of the area near the river,” Suresh Kumar, a resident said.

Krishna District Collector Piyush Kumar said the army, navy and the NDRF men were ready with 100 boats and six helicopters to rescue people in the district. Vehicular traffic on the Hyderabad-Vijayawada highway came to a standstill as the highway was under water at several points. However, receding water levels at the Srisailam dam and in the tributaries of the Krishna have provided some respite to Kurnool and Mahbubnagar, where 1.1 million people have been affected. People are returning homes in Kurnool town.

Pathetic scenes were witnessed in the affected areas as men and women were trying to salvage whatever they could from the slush in their damaged houses. Debris, garbage and carcasses of cattle washed away by floods were seen scattered all over. Sanitation workers were having a tough time to take up cleaning work.

Ministers and officials who visited the affected areas had to face the ire of the people who protested the tardy relief work.

According to official figures, the floods have so far claimed 49 lives in five districts. Kurnool district accounted for 26 deaths while 17 people died in Mahbubnagar. The remaining deaths were reported from the Krishna district (three), Nalgonda (two) and Guntur (one).
About 500 villages were inundated by the floods that impacted over 1.8 million people in five districts. Over 400,000 people have been rendered homeless.

The State has doubled the compensation to Rs 200,000 even as it put the loss at Rs 12,225 crore and sought Rs 6,000 crore aid from the Centre

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