Krishna Flows Furiously
BY: STAFF CORRESPONDENT
Oct 05, HYDERABAD, INDIA (ECONOMIC TIMES) In what could be the biggest deluge in Andhra Pradesh’s living memory, the Prakasam Barrage on Krishna River threatened several villages downstream even as the toll due to heavy rains and rampaging floods in Karnataka, Andhra and Maharashtra climbed to 240. Over two lakh homes have been washed away in the three states and the receding monsoon has caused extensive damage to crops.
Krishna virtually turned into a sea as a record 11 lakh cusecs of flood water reached Prakasam barrage. This is the heaviest flood in Krishna in more than 106 years. The previous record stands at 10.30 lakh cusecs in 1903, irrigation authorities said in Vijayawada. Karnataka accounted for 178 deaths following after 10 more bodies were found in northern and coastal regions of the state. In Andhra, the death toll stands at 37 and 25 in Maharashtra.
Many colonies along the left bank of Krishna in Vijayawada was submerged as the flood level touched four feet on Monday evening. The situation is expected to remain grim till Wednesday as the flood discharge at Prakasam barrage will continue to be over 11 lakh cusecs, officials said. The water level touched 21.4 feet at the barrage and all the 72 sluice gates have been lifted to let out water into the Bay of Bengal.
Several parts of Vijayawada, one of the biggest cities in AP with 1.2 million people, have been inundated. Thousands of people are still being evacuated from villages downstream.
The weakening embankments at few points along the river course have raised the spectre of inundation of vast areas and authorities have mobilised 300,000 sand bags to strengthen the embankments. The water level at the barrage, the last irrigation project across Krishna river before it falls in the Bay of Bengal, stands at 21.5 feet.
Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh sought immediate central assistance of Rs16,000 crore for rehabilitation work. Of the massive assistance sought by the two neighbouring states, Karnataka wants Rs.10,000 crore and Andhra Rs 6,000 crore immediately in the states' worst floods in over a century. UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi undertook an aerial survey of the ravaged areas in Bellary district in Karnataka and chief minister B S Yeddyurappa, who accompanied her, said the state suffered an unprecedented damage exceeding Rs 20,000 crore.
Torrential rains left a trail of death and destruction in 15 districts of Karnataka damaging over two lakh houses in 1,467 villages subsided since Sunday. Bijapur district bore the brunt of the rain fury with 31 deaths followed by Raichur and Bagalkote (26 each). Over 4.53 lakh people have been sheltered in 13,330 relief camps.
The Centre stepped up relief and rescue operations in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. It rushed in additional trained personnel and more motorised boats to help rescue operations in five districts each of the two states bearing the brunt of incessant rains and flooding.
As many as 714 trained personnel of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) along with 235 inflatable motorised boats, 310 lifebuoys and 225 life-jackets have been deployed in Kurnool, Krishna, Mehboob Nagar and Nandyal districts of Andhra Pradesh for rescue and relief operations.
Over 700 Army personnel along with 23 special boats, 11 out boat motors, 430 lifejackets and 11 rescue teams from the Navy have been deployed in Guntur, Mehboob Nagar and Vijaywada districts.
Three medical teams of the Army have also pitched in the relief operations in Kurnool, Mehboob Nagar and Vijaywada districts of Andhra Pradesh.
In Karnataka, Army sent in 12 special boats, six out boat motors, 200 lifejackets and additional personnel armed with digging instruments have been deployed in affected districts.
In Gadag and Karwar districts, four diving teams are aiding relief operations while an additional 22-member contingent is also deployed in Karwar.
About 200,000 people in areas within about 2 km of the river bank have been moved to safer places. Villages near Vijayawada along the river bank have also come under water and 40,000 people shifted to relief camps.
Krishna District Collector Piyush Kumar said army, navy and the National Disaster Response Force were ready to rescue people with 100 boats and six helicopters in the district.
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