Floods bring A.P. to its knees

The heavy rains came just when the State was beginning to get back to normalcy after six months of battling COVID

Just as Andhra Pradesh was beginning to return to a semblance of normalcy after six months of battling COVID-19, a deep depression wreaked havoc across the coastal belt in the second week of October, throwing life out of gear in several districts.

At least 20 people lost their lives in the north-coastal districts. Seven people were killed in Visakhapatnam district, while five persons died in Guntur district, followed by four in West Godavari and two each from Krishna and Srikakulam districts. The rains and subsequent floods caused severe damage to standing crops in 96,316 hectares, and destroyed horticultural crops in 13,563 hectares.

The estimated financial loss in the three districts of Visakhapatnam, Krishna and Kurnool is ₹141.56 crore and the final enumeration of crop damages is still going on. Aquaculture operations in East and West Godavari districts suffered a blow with ponds in 2,974 hectares damaged.

The deluge also caused a massive blow to infrastructure, with several national, State and local highways damaged. The damage according to the Roads and Buildings Department is a colossal ₹1,288.96 crore, followed by the Water Resources Department at ₹33.51 crore. The total damage caused to infrastructure is ₹1,505.97 crore.

The State received 867.7 mm rainfall as against the normal rainfall of 686.7 mm, as on October 20, with a deviation of 26.4 mm excess rain. Of the 13 districts, eight received excess rainfall, while five received normal rainfall. Krishnapuram village in Thondangi mandal of East Godavari district received the maximum rainfall of 95.5 mm, followed by Sivala village in Pamarru mandal. In Guntur, Rajupalem mandal received a rainfall of 87.8 mm.

The floods left a trail of destruction in 186 mandals, 885 villages, inundated 34,992 houses, damaged 1,702 houses besides causing 20 deaths. Of the seven killed in Visakhapatnam district, one person, Bobbadi Paramesh (18) was washed away in the Varaaha river in Cheedikada mandal, while Gnaneswar Rajeswari Devi (58), died after her car was washed away in floods at Annavaram metta of Nathavaram mandal.

The State Government’s response was quick. As many as 157 relief camps were opened, 10,697 families evacuated and 37,086 persons accommodated in the relief camps. Following the directions of the CM, an essential commodities kit consisting of 25 kg of rice, one kg each of red dal, onions, potatoes and one litre of oil was distributed to flood-hit victims.A special assistance of ₹500 was announced for 14,050 families in the coastal districts.

The State Government also deployed four NDRF and five SDRF teams as part of relief and rescue operations.

On a positive note, the massive rainfall meant that all the major reservoirs in the State were brimming. The major reservoirs of Srisailam recorded 211.61 TMC of water, Nagarjuna Sagar (310.55 TMC), Pulichintala (43.45 TMC), Prakasam Barrage (3.07 TMC). Discharges at Prakasam Barrage crossed 8 lakh cusecs.

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