The flood situation in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka showed signs of improvement with water levels receding on Saturday after three days of torrential rain.
The respite came not before heavy rains left at least 187 people dead in the two southern states and the Konkan region.
The downpour was in stark contrast to a worsening drought in most parts of the country. All of India saw the driest monsoon since 1972, as the national average rainfall between June and September fell 23 per cent short of the normal level. Hit by the retreating monsoon
The northern and southern districts of Karnataka received rain in excess of 23 per cent and 30 per cent respectively.
Rescue efforts were intensified with troops backed by Indian Air Force helicopters shifting marooned people in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, the worst hit with a toll of 161, to safer areas.
“More than 350 villages were affected by the rain and subsequent floods, the worst since 1972 in north Karnataka,” said H.V. Parashwanath, the state’s top disaster management official.
At least 116,000 houses had been damaged, he said.
In neighbouring Andhra Pradesh, where the toll was 16, Chief Minister K. Rosaiah said 15 helicopters, some of them from the Army, and about 150 boats were involved in the rescue efforts.
The army has deployed around 700 troops in the flood-affected districts of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.
Rail and road transport were affected in the rain-hit districts of both the states.
The rains have also hit the Konkan region, including parts of Maharashtra and Goa, where at least 10 deaths were reported.