Andhra Pradesh

Heavy rains claim 17 lives in Andhra’s Rayalaseema, several rescued

TIRUPATI / VIJAYAWADA : At least 17 persons were killed in different rain-related incidents in Chittoor, Kadapa and Anantapur districts of Rayalaseema. A few people from two villages in Rajampet mandal of Kadapa district are feared washed away in floods. The downpour for the last two days resulted in overflowing of rivers, tanks and canals in Chittoor and Nellore districts. Penna, Swarnamukhi and Kalangi rivers are in spate.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy over phone and enquired about the situation in the State due to heavy rains. The Chief Minister explained the high intensity floods in Nellore, Anantapur, Kadapa and Chittoor districts due to heavy rains and relief and rescue measures taken by his government.

He told the Prime Minister that responding to a request made by the State, Indian Air Force helicopters were pressed into service and 10 persons were rescued from the flooded Chitravathi river at Veldurthi village in CK Palle mandal of Anantapur district. The Prime Minister assured him of all help to the State and extended full cooperation from the Centre.

The Chief Minister will conduct an aerial survey of rain affected areas in Kadapa, Chittoor and Nellore after reviewing the situation with the district collectors. He will leave for Kadapa directly by a helicopter from Gannavaram airport to survey the flood affected areas and return from Renigunta airport.

Earlier, Jagan informed the Assembly that the collectors of Nellore, Chittoor and Kadapa districts were asked to be liberal and compassionate towards the needs of the rain-hit people. He directed officials to pay a compensation of Rs 5 lakh each to the kin of those killed in rain-related incidents. Official teams were constituted to assess the crop damage.

The State government appointed special officers for Nellore, Chittoor and Kadapa districts to oversee relief measures. He also instructed officials to provide Rs 2,000 aid to each family affected by floods and shifted to relief camps.

Kadapa bore the brunt of heavy rains. The district received 700 mm rainfall within a span of 24 hours. “The floods breached the bund of Annamayya project on Friday morning and inundated several villages downstream,’’ Collector V Vijayarama Raju said.

He, however, said the official machinery have already evacuated majority of people in the downstream of Annamaiah project and shifted them to safer places. However, some people were reluctant to leave their villages and stayed on rooftops, the collector said. The breaching of the earthen bund flooded eight villages washing away 12 people.

They included four passengers of an RTC bus. Three RTC buses on their way to Nandalur from Rajampet were stuck in floods and one of them was washed away. Four persons from the ill-fated bus were washed away and their bodies were later found in the nearby villages. Other passengers climbed the top of buses and were rescued by police. The bodies of eight people were retrieved.

Meanwhile, Chittoor collector M Harinarayanan confirmed the death of eight in rain-related incidents. Four persons from Bangarupalyam, two from Tirupati and one each from Peddmandyam and Chittoor were washed away in floods. Officials said a total of 6,128 people from 1,886 families were shifted to rehabilitation centres in the district. About 60 relief camps were set up. “We will provide an aid of Rs 1,000 to each rain victim and a maximum of Rs 2,000 to each family which was shifted to relief camps,’’ the Collector said.

The district administration announced holiday for all educational institutions on Saturday. The district received an average of 11 cm rainfall in the last 24 hours. Even as the rain subsided, the situation remained grim in several colonies of Tirupati. Several localities in the temple town are still inundated. Nearly 40 per cent of colonies were flooded.

SDRF teams rescued 17 people who were stranded in Swarnamukhi and 60 people in Gajulamandyam. Officials are releasing water from Kalyani dam by lifting three crest gates. A two-storey house in Vasundhara Nagar in Tiruchanoor collapsed into the gushing rivulet on Friday.

In Nellore, coastal mandals as well as the city witnessed moderate to heavy rainfall. Penna is in spate. Officials of the Nellore Municipal Corporation shifted the people residing in river bed areas to safer places. Dakkili mandal received the highest rainfall of 11 cm in the last 24 hours. The district received an average rainfall of 5 cm. In Anantapur, Ranjit (35) died when his rain-soaked house in Ramagiri collapsed.