39 feared dead in TN, Andhra rain disaster

The heavy rainfall in north Tamil Nadu districts and south Andhra districts and parts of Rayalaseema since Thursday night was due to a depression that crossed the coast of north Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh between 3am and 4am on November 19, the India Meteorological Department said.
People traveling on the roof of a partially submerged underwater bus following heavy rainfall in Kadapa.(ANI)
People traveling on the roof of a partially submerged underwater bus following heavy rainfall in Kadapa.(ANI)
Updated on Nov 20, 2021 12:30 AM IST
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BySrinivasa Rao Apparasu, Divya Chandrababu, Hindustan Times, Hyderabad/chennai

At least 30 people were feared to have died when they got washed away in floodwaters from Cheyyeru river as the earthen bund of Annamayya reservoir in Rajampet of Andhra Pradesh’s Kadapa district was breached after heavy rain and nine people, including four children, died in north Tamil Nadu’s Vellore district in two separate incidents on Friday.

The heavy rainfall in north Tamil Nadu districts and south Andhra districts and parts of Rayalaseema since Thursday night was due to a depression that crossed the coast of north Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh between 3am and 4am on November 19, India Meteorological Department (IMD) officials said.

Vellore collector P Kumaravel Pandian said a house destroyed by the flood was very old and located along the banks of a river near Pernampet. “Four people resided in this house and as the rain got heavier people from adjacent houses moved to the first floor of this house on Thursday night for shelter,” the collector said. This locality was severely flooded.

“The house was already in a dangerous condition because it is old and due to rain, it weakened further and around 7.15 this morning the house collapsed,” the collector said. Among the four children who were crushed to death, three were girls. Several others have also been injured in the collapse and are receiving treatment at Gudiyatham Government Hospital and Government Vellore Medical College Hospital in Adukkamparai.

Flooding in some localities of Bengaluru city was also reported due to continuous rainfall since November 11. The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) in a statement said no adverse incident was reported and a few persons from low-lying areas were shifted to shelters as a precautionary measure. However, no flooding was reported in Chennai, which has reported massive water-logging on at least two occasions in the past month.

In Andhra Pradesh, Kadapa district authorities confirmed that three bodies – that of a conductor and two passengers of a state-run Road Transport Corporation bus that was stranded in floodwaters from Cheyyeru – were recovered. Unconfirmed reports said 12 bodies were recovered till evening.

Apart from the three bodies from the RTC bus, seven dead bodies were recovered at a temple in Gundluru village, and two others in Mandapalli village. “Search operations are on for others who are believed to have been washed away in the floods,” a local revenue official of Rajampet, who did not wish to be named, said.

Three RTC buses got stranded in Mandapalli, Akepadu and Nandaluru areas. While many of the passengers were rescued by authorities, three of them, including the bus conductor, were washed away in the floods at Nandaluru.

According to state disaster management commissioner K Kanna Babu, the depression in the Bay of Bengal crossed the coast between Chennai and Puducherry around 4am on Friday, and there was heavy to very heavy rain in many parts of Chittoor, Kadapa, and Prakasam districts and Anantapur, along with gales with speeds of 45-65 km per hour.

A bulletin from AP State Development Planning Society (APSDPS) showed Peddamandyam in Chittoor district received the highest rainfall of 207mm in the last 36 hours, followed by 187.25mm in Rayachoti in Kadapa, 178.25mm in Nallacheruvu in Anantapur, 172.5mm in Pulivendula of Kadapa and 171mm in Kalakada in Chittoor.

In many other areas of Rayalaseema and south Andhra, rainfall ranged from 110mm to 170mm during this period, the APSDPS bulletin said.

The temple town of Tirumala-Tirupati, which was completely flooded due to heavy rain on Thursday, is slowly limping back to normal though the area is still receiving rain. Tirupati has received 103mm since 8am on Thursday, the bulletin said.

Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD), which manages the popular Hindu shrine of Lord Venkateshwara on the Tirumala hills, announced in the morning resumption of traffic on one of the two ghat roads that were shut down for the last 24 hours due to landslides and overflowing streams on the hills.

But by evening, it again announced closure of the ghat road in order to repair the damaged road. TTD executive officer KS Jawahar Reddy said due to unprecedented rain, boulders and hill rocks had fallen at different points on both ghats. “As a safety measure we have closed both ghats on Thursday evening. The restoration work is going on,” he said.

Due to the heavy downpour witnessed on Thursday in Tirupati, the Kapilatheertham torrent was in full flow, forcing the TTD authorities to stall the entry of pilgrims. The gushing waters of Kapila Teertham uprooted three of the temple pillars, Reddy said. He said the exact damage to the temple will be known once rainwater recedes.

Andhra Pradesh chief minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, who reviewed the flood situation in the state with senior officials and district collectors through video conference, said he will conduct an aerial survey of the affected areas on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called up the chief minister and enquired about the flood situation in the state. Modi assured him of all help, an official statement from the chief minister’s office said.

A railway track between Rajavaram and Pundluru was washed away at Rajampet, resulting in stranding of the Chennai Express and a couple of other passenger trains. Train services were restored later in the evening. A bridge on Papaghni river at Kamalapuram in Kadapa district caved in, forcing authorities to stop traffic.

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Sunday, November 28, 2021