Flood fury: Breaches in Krishna embankments

Krishna River breached its embankment inundating several villages in AP`s Krishna and Guntur districts.

Hyderabad: The Krishna River breached its embankment Tuesday inundating dozens of villages in Krishna and Guntur districts, worsening the century`s worst flooding in Andhra Pradesh that has claimed 52 lives.

Flood waters submerged dozens of island villages near where the swollen Krishna falls into the Bay of Bengal. Though most people had already moved to safety, many were rescued by boats, averting a major tragedy.

Residents of other villages facing threat of inundation are being warned to immediately shift to safer places.

Authorities in the two districts have evacuated 250,000 people from over 200 villages and parts of Vijayawada city, which too faces a threat due to the rising level in Prakasam barrage.

However, the loss of life was minimised as officials had adequate time to evacuate people after Kurnool and Mahabubnagar districts were flooded upstream Oct 2.

The water level in Prakasam barrage in Vijayawada city Tuesday rose to 21.9 feet against its full reservoir level of 23 feet. The inflows reached a record 1.13 million cusecs while the discharges into the sea was at 1.08 million, threatening the villages downstream.

Areas upstream have already come under six to seven feet water. The Hyderabad-Vijayawada highway is also submerged, disrupting traffic between the two cities.

Chief Minister K. Rosaiah Tuesday held a teleconference with collectors of five flood-hit districts and asked officials of Krishna and Guntur districts to be on alert for the next 36 hours and monitor the situation at embankments closely.

Kurnool and Mahabubnagar, battered by floods last week, got a respite as water flow has almost stopped from dams in neighbouring Karnataka.

The inflows at Srisailam and Nagarjuna Sagar projects have considerably decreased, enabling authorities to focus on relief and rehabilitation in Kurnool, Mantralayam and Nandyal towns as well as villages that bore the maximum brunt.

The floods have claimed 52 lives in Andhra Pradesh and affected over 1.6 million people in five districts. Half a million people are homeless.

While 28 people were killed in the worst-hit Kurnool district, 17 died in Mahabubnagar. The remaining deaths were reported from Krishna and Nalgonda (3 each) and Guntur (1).

The destruction to infrastructure and crops has been massive. Initial estimates put the loss at Rs.12,225 crore. The government has urged the centre to declare the floods a national calamity and provide an immediate assistance of Rs.6,000 crore for relief and rehabilitation.