Flood situation grim in Andhra Pradesh

    By IANS,

    Hyderabad: The flood situation in Andhra Pradesh was grim Saturday with the Godavari river flowing above the danger mark and over 200 villages remaining marooned in six districts, officials said.

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    Three helicopters of Indian Air Force (IAF) were pressed into service for rescue and relief work in Karimnagar, one of the worst affected districts, while another chopper is ready for rescue operations in Khammam district.

    As many as 40 villages remained marooned in Manthani division of Karimnagar district. The IAF helicopters are dropping food, water packets and medicines in the affected villages, a state government official said.

    Though rains have started receding in north Telangana, the Godavari is still in spate due to overflowing rivulets and huge inflows from upstream.

    The Godavari level at Bhadrachalam in Khammam district was 56.4 feet Saturday afternoon. Authorities have already issued third warning. Several low-lying areas in and around the temple town of Bhadrachalam were inundated.

    Three rescue teams from the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) have reached Khammam for rescue work as 40 villages remained marooned.

    The water level in Godavari crossed the 15 metres mark at Dhowleswaram near Rajahmundry, flooding over 150 villages in both East and West Godavari districts. Authorities have released more than 16 lakh cusecs of water into the Bay of Bengal.

    Several villages were cut-off from the rest of the state in Polavaram and Kovur mandals in West Godavari district. District administration evacuated many low-lying villages and arranged sand bags to prevent further flooding.

    In East Godavari district, authorities have shifted 1,200 people to safe places. District Collector Neetu Prasad said people in low-lying villages were asked to move to safe places.

    The heavy rains that battered north Telangana districts of Adilabad, Karimnagar, Warangal and Khammam in the last five days have claimed 10 lives. The rivers, rivulets, streams and tanks in the region were overflowing, inundating several villages.

    The state government has already deputed special officers to the affected districts and formed help centres to monitor rescue and relief work.

    Agriculture Minister Kanna Lakshminarayana said crops in one lakh hectare area were damaged due to the rains and floods. He said paddy, soyabean and cotton crops which were at nursery stage were damaged.