17 killed in Andhra rains, hundreds of villages under water
Seventeen people were killed and hundreds of villages and several towns were inundated as torrential rains lashed large parts of Andhra Pradesh for the fourth day Friday
Heavy rains under the impact of low pressure area and a vigorous northeast monsoon hit coastal Andhra, Rayalaseema and Telangana regions, damaging houses and crops over lakhs of acres and throwing normal life out of gear.
The swollen rivulets cut of roads link to hundreds of villages in coastal Andhra and parts of Telangana. Road and rail transport was affected due to flooding of roads and railway tracks, especially in Srikakulam district of north coastal Andhra.
According to officials of the disaster management department, the death toll in rains rose to 17 while two people were missing. Prakasam district accounted for five deaths, Guntur four and Hyderabad three.
Over 67,000 people were evacuated from low-lying areas and moved to 135 relief camps in seven districts. Thousands of people were stranded in marooned villages without food and drinking water.
Over 3,000 houses were damaged in the rains, which inundated not only hundreds of villages in Srikakulam, Vizianagaram, East Godavari, West Godavari, Prakasam, Guntur, Krishna, Nalgonda and Mahabubnagar districts but also low-lying areas in Hyderabad and in Vijayawada, Visakhapatnam, Guntur, Ongole and Eluru towns.
Nine teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) were sent to affected districts for rescue and relief operations. Four teams were sent to Srikakulam, three to Guntur and one each to Nalgonda and West Godavari district.
Officials said 117 irrigation tanks were damaged, majority of them in Srikakulam district where Vamsadhara river is in spate. The road transport between Andhra Pradesh and Odisha came to a halt while several trains were either cancelled or diverted due to submergence of railway tracks.
The rains have inundated crops over 2.49 lakh hectares including cotton crops over 1.31 lakh hectares and paddy over 1.07 lakh hectares.
Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy reviewed the situation in Hyderabad and directed officials to launch rescue and relief operations.
With the met office warning of heavy rains over the next two days, the district collectors were asked to be on high alert and evacuate people from low-lying areas.