Many still missing in Andhra floods

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Hyderabad The official death toll from rain-related incidents in Rayalaseema and south coastal regions of Andhra Pradesh since Friday morning has been put at 24 and the number of missing persons at 17, even as heavy rain continued to pound several parts of the state for the third consecutive day on Saturday.

Unconfirmed reports, however, said over 30 persons, who were believed to have been washed away in floods in Kadapa and Chittoor districts, are yet to be traced. Rescue operations were still underway to find the missing persons, an official bulletin from the state disaster management authority said.

Officials confirmed 13 bodies had been recovered from the flash floods caused due to the breaching of the reservoir of Annamayya project on the Cheyyeru river in Pulaputhur village of Nandaluru block in Kadapa district on Friday morning. The floods inundated several villages such as Gundluru, Seshamambapuram, Akepadu and Mandapalli.

“In all, 7 NDRF and 9 SDRF teams have been deployed for search and rescue operations in flood-affected districts. Two helicopters were also deployed in Anantapur and Kadapa districts and over 100 who were stranded have been rescued,” the bulletin said.

In Chittoor district, bodies of four persons, who were washed away in the floods caused due to overflowing of the Balijapalli tank in Bangarupalyam block. The whereabouts of four others who were washed away in Jeevagram village of Renigunta block near Tirupati are not yet known.

In Kadiri town of Anantapur district, seven persons, including two children, died due to the collapse of an under-construction building on an adjacent building in the early hours of Saturday. One person each in Anantapur and Nellore are still missing.

More than 2,500 buffaloes, goats and other livestock were also washed away in the flood-affected districts of Rayalaseema.

The official bulletin said 1,316 villages were badly affected and a few completely inundated, displacing nearly 24,000 people. As many as 1,549 houses were completely damaged due to flash floods.

Authorities set up 243 relief camps and provided shelter to 22,593 people who were evacuated from the affected areas. Preliminary estimates said 151,047 acres of agricultural crops had been damaged.

Chief minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy conducted an aerial survey of flood-affected areas in Chittoor and Kadapa districts on Saturday afternoon. He had a glimpse of the damage caused by heavy rain in Kadapa, Renigunta, Tirupati town, Peruru project and Swarnamukhi river areas, along with inundated areas affected by the Papagni and Penna rivers.

He also inspected the Veligallu and Annamayya project area, which was severely damaged. He instructed officials to complete the estimation of crop damage and take up measures to support the farmers. The chief minister directed authorities to provide immediate financial assistance to flood-hit households and to assist them while they were returning home. He announced ex gratia payment of 5 lakh to the families of those who died.

The South Central Railway announced the cancellation of the Chennai Central-Tirupati train and the Guntakal-Tirupati train on Saturday owing to heavy rain and suspension of tracks between the Renigunta-Pudi section of Chennai division of Southern Railway.

In Tirupati, several residential areas continued to be flooded and the shrine management is not allowing two-wheelers on the ghat road to Tirumala as a precautionary measure.

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