Heavy rains, flash floods kill 14 in coastal Andhra
Heavy rains continued to batter south coastal Andhra Pradesh on Tuesday as the death toll in the flash floods under the impact of low pressure over the Bay of Bengal rose to 14.
The worst-hit districts of Nellore and Prakasam as well as Chittoor and Kadpa continued to receive heavy rains for the second consecutive day on Tuesday as the flash floods wreaked havoc, inundating dozens of villages, damaging crops and disrupting road and rail traffic in the region.
As many as 50,000 people from low-lying areas have been evacuated and shifted to about 50 relief camps set up by authorities in the four districts.
Three people were washed away and two others were missing in Kadpa district as authorities continued their efforts for the second day to rescue passengers of a bus caught in flash floods in a rivulet. Bodies of three people, including a home guard who was part of the rescue team, were recovered.
The bus carrying 25 passengers was caught in flash floods in Perlavagu rivulet Monday when the driver was trying to negotiate the waters as the road on both sides was washed away.
The local authorities with the help of police and fire fighters tried to rescue the stranded passengers Monday but failed and a helicopter requisitioned from Bangalore could not land there due to bad weather.
Minister for Revenue and Relief Dharmana Prasad Rao said in Hyderabad Tuesday that 18 passengers of the bus were rescued early this morning and efforts were on to rescue the rest. He said three people were washed away and the dead include a woman teacher who was travelling in the bus.
About a dozen buses, trucks and other vehicles were caught in flash floods in the affected districts. Local authorities rescued most of the people travelling in these vehicles. However, four members of a marriage party travelling in a private bus were washed away near Naidupeta in Nellore when the vehicle was caught in swirling waters. Villagers rescued four people by a boat but four others drowned when the bus turned upside down and was washed away.
Rivulets, streams and tanks are overflowing in the four districts due to heavy rains and flash floods, which have damaged standing crops over a large area.
The flash floods have thrown rail and road traffic out of gear. State transport corporation buses have gone off the roads while the railways also cancelled trains, especially between Vijayawada and Chennai.
Meanwhile, weathermen have forecast more rains in south coastal Andhra Pradesh, Rayalseema and north coastal Tamil Nadu due to the low-pressure area over the Bay of Bengal.
Officials said strong winds with a speed of 40 to 50 km per hour were blowing along the coast. The fishermen have been warned against venturing into the sea, which remained rough.
Heavy rains and floods have claimed over 100 lives in two spells in the state since June. Andhra Pradesh has a coastline of over 1,000 km that has seen repeated floods, storms and cyclones in recent times.