Saturday, October 3, 2009

148 dead as floods batter Karnataka and Andhra

Stepping up rescue efforts, army troops backed by IAF helicopters on Saturday shifted marooned villagers perched on rooftops to safer areas as unprecdented floods left 148 dead in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.

However, the situation in Andhra Pradesh's worst-hit Kurnool and Mahboobnagar districts showed signs of easing with the water level in flooded areas receding while rains held off in most parts of Karnataka except in coastal areas and Bellary district.

In Karnatka, heavy rains killed 132 people in the last six days and flooded 15 districts flattening more than one lakh houses.

Sixteen people were killed and over 4.5 lakh people evacuated as flood water inundated Andhra Pradesh's five districts of Kurnool, Mahboobnagar, Guntur, Krishna and Nalgonda.

Though the number of deaths in Andhra is 16, the toll is likely to go up once authorities access those areas which still remain cut off, Revenue Minister D Prasada Rao said.

Rescue personnel evacuated 1.5 lakh people in Kurnool district, 1.34 lakh people in Mahaboobnagar district, 15,000 people in Krishna district and 5,000 flood victims in Guntur district.

In Karnataka, fifteen districts have been impacted in varying degrees by the monsoon fury, he said, adding, the unprecedented rain in northern Karnataka has damaged 1,03,291 houses.

Rescue operations were on in full swing in Kadawada village in Uttara Kannada district where a major landslide buried eight houses. According to eyewitnesses, around 11-21 people were feared trapped.

Rains had abated to some extent except in coastal parts and Bellary district, he said.

The Indian Air Force evacuated 12 persons caught in neck-deep water in Bellary district while 32 marooned people were rescued from the temple town of Mantralaya in Andhra Pradesh's Kurnool district bordering Raichur in Karnataka.

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister K Rosaiah said the situation in Kurnool and Mahaboobnagar districts improved with water levels receding.

The good news for Andhra Pradesh is that inflow of water in Srisailam dam, which has been releasing water, is likely to come down, which may provide relief to Kurnool district.

Massive rescue and relief operation are underway in the affected areas with seven helicopters, 550 army personnel and 165 personnel of National Disaster Response Force and 138 boats pressed into service.

The Revenue Minister said lakhs of food and water sachets and other relief material are being distributed to the flood victims in all the districts.

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