The death toll in the current spell of torrential rains battering Andhra Pradesh and Odisha for the past five days rose to 30 on Friday, as dozens of towns and villages across the two states were left inundated by flood waters.
While the massive floods claimed 20 lives in Andhra Pradesh and forced the evacuation of over 68,000 people, the death toll in Odisha touched 10 and forced over 1.50 lakh people to evacuate their homes.
The met department has attributed the heavy rains to the creation of a low pressure zone over the Bay of Bengal, as an impact of Cyclone Phailin.
Due to the resultant vigorous northeast monsoon, the two states have been experiencing heavy rainfall, leading to the flood situation.
The Andhra Pradesh met office has warned of heavy rains in the state over the next two days. Further, district collectors all over the state have been asked to be on high alert and evacuate more people from low-lying areas.
This is the second wave of floods within 12 days to have hit the Odisha.
The two states are still realing from the devastation caused by Cyclone Phailin.
Situation in Andhra Pradesh
Roads flooded due to heavy rains in Srikakulam and Nalgonda districts of Andhra Pradesh. (PTI Photo)
An official in the chief minister’s office (CMO), confirming the deaths, told Hindustan Times that so far, people have been evacuated from low-lying areas in several towns and villages to 135 relief camps set up in seven districts. The deaths were reported from different districts covering all the three regions of the state, he added.
The heavy rains also caused massive damage to standing crops spread over 435,000 hectares of land including 200,000 hectares of cotton across the state, the official said, adding that the focus may now shift from coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema to Telangana region with the weatherman forecasting very heavy rains in the next 24 hours.
Official sources said over 350 houses have been damaged so far in the rains in Srikakulam, Guntur, Krishna, Prakasam, Nalgonda, Mahabubnagar, Vizianagaram and the two Godavari districts. The unprecedented rains have badly impacted normal life in all the three regions of the state – Telangana, coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema.
The sources said 117 irrigation tanks in the state have also been damaged, most of them in the north coastal Andhra district of Srikakulam where Vamsadhara river is in spate. Traffic movement on the Andhra-Odisha highway has virtually come to a halt following flooding of the road.
Besides, several trains have also been cancelled or diverted due to submergence of railway tracks at many places. The situation was similar in several districts of coastal Andhra and Telangana with road links cut off following flooding of roads.
Thousands of people in villages continue to be marooned as flood waters from swollen rivulets swirled around them persistently. The rains have inundated crops in over 2.49 lakh hectares of land including cotton crops over in 1.31 lakh hectares and paddy in 1.07 lakh hectares.
Nine teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) have been pressed into service for rescue and relief operations. Four teams were sent to Srikakulam, three to Guntur and one each to Nalgonda and West Godavari district.
Meanwhile, chief minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy held an emergency meeting in Hyderabad with top officials and cabinet colleagues to take stock of the situation, and directed officials to carry out rescue and relief operations effectively.
Situation in Odisha
A villager carries a child through a flooded road after heavy rains in Khurda district of Odisha. (Reuters Photo)
The Odisha government on Friday ordered closure of all educational institutions in seven districts and deployed the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF).
The combined toll from the two waves of flood in Odisha stood at 33.
The state government ordered the administration in seven disricts to close down all educational institutions till Monday. Teams of National Disaster Response Force, assisted by the Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force, have also been pressed into service in the flood-affected districts, while three helicopters have been deployed for search and rescue operation.
The fresh wave of floods has inundated more than 2,250 villages in the districts of Ganjam, Gajapati, Cuttack, Jagatsinghpur, Khurda, Nayagarh and Puri. Six deaths were reported from Ganjam and four from Jagatsinghpur districts due to wall collapse and drowning, government officials said.
Ganjam, which was worst hit by Cyclone Phailin on October 12, was most affected by the second round of flood too.
More than 95,000 people have been evacuated from 22 blocks across Ganjam, many of them for the second time since the cyclone made landfall in the district, even as another 1 lakh still remained marooned in floodwaters.
“The relief and restoration work for cyclone, which had been going on in full swing in the district, has been disrupted due to the flood. Our first objective is to rescue the marooned people,” special relief commissioner PK Mohapatra said.
The continuous downpour has added to the misery of the people in the district that is yet to recover from the trauma of cyclone. Rajani Das of Biripur village said the cyclone had devastated their house and now flood has eliminated its existence.
“I had got relief material like rice, kerosene, polythene from the administration after cyclone but now flood has swept them away. I have shifted to a relief camp for the second time in 10 days. Living like this is worse than death,” she said.
Cyclone Phailin hit the beach town of Gopalpur in Ganjam on the night of October 12 with a wind speed of more than 200 km per hour. The storm devastated communication system and power supply in all affected districts, uprooted trees, overturned trucks and flattened kuchha buildings, mostly in Ganjam district.
A day later, the waning cyclone caused heavy rains, triggering flood in northern districts. Around 1.20 crore people in 17 districts were affected due to the cyclone and the first round of flood.
Flood affected blocks of Hinjili and Ganjam in Odisha. (Arabinda Mahapatra/HT Photo)
30 killed as flood crisis hits Odisha, Andhra