Andhra Pradesh Floods

Rain, floods in Andhra Pradesh’s Rayalaseema region claims 27 lives, rivers in spate

Published : November 20, 2021 22:35 IST

Deputy Superintendent of Police A. Srinivasulu and other personnel helping people out of their inundated houses at Puttaparthi in Anantapur district, on November 19. Photo: R.V.S. PRASAD

Entire areas in three of the State’s four Rayalaseema districts of Anantapur, Chittoor, and Kadapa and parts of the fourth, Kurnool, have endured the worst of the rain fury and flash floods.

The incessant and heavy rain that has been pounding down over several parts of south India, thanks to the depression which crossed the north Tamil Nadu and adjoining south Andhra Pradesh coast between Puducherry and Chennai on November 19, has taken the lives of at least 27 persons in Andhra Pradesh’s Rayalaseema region. The death toll is expected to go up.

Entire areas in three of the State’s four Rayalaseema districts of Anantapur, Chittoor, and Kadapa and parts of the fourth, Kurnool, have endured the worst of the rain fury and flash floods as tanks, rivulets, streams, reservoirs and rivers overflowed. Pucca houses were destroyed, buildings were inundated, several State transport buses were marooned and even washed away, and several arterial roads and even parts of the national highway were submerged in the swirling waters. Although the rain has subsided in Rayalaseema, inflows into several irrigation projects have continued unabated, causing distress in low-lying areas downstream.

Other parts of Andhra Pradesh have also been hit by heavy rain, with Nellore Collector K.V.N. Chakradhar Babu telling Frontline that the water level of the River Pennar at the Nellore Anicut had breached a 139-year record at 0600 hrs on November 20, and was flowing at 19.52 m. This far, the highest water level recorded at the Nellore Anicut was on November 30, 1882, when the level stood at 18.70 m. Chakradhar Babu, however, stressed that there were no deaths recorded in the district and gave credit for that to the sustained rescue operations by a force of nearly 5,000 personnel from police, fire and disaster management authorities, among others.

Parts of Nellore district, especially Atmakur and Nellore revenue divisions, were worst-affected with several areas inundated with flood waters. The Collector said several mandals in the district were still in the midst of flood waters owing to overflowing rivulets and canals. The Nellore District administration had sounded an alert on account of the overflowing Penna River, with heavy inflows to the Somasila reservoir, resulting in road connectivity to several villages close to the Penna, being cut off. Officials disclosed that the Somasila project had been receiving 4.56 lakh cusecs of water, with officials releasing 4.74 lakh cusecs downstream.

In the Rayalaseema region, both the Tirupati International Airport at Renigunta, and the Kadapa Airport, 12 km from Kadapa town have been shut till November 25. In Chittoor district, the temple town of Tirupati and the hill top shrine at Tirumala have been badly affected, with the rain and the swollen Swarnamukhi river on the outskirts of Tirupati causing flooding and forcing Tirupati Tirumala Devasthanams officials to even close the ghat road and walkways to Tirumala. Though five people in the village of Mullapudi in Tirupati rural mandal were washed away by the overflowing Swarnamukh, rescue teams were able to pull two of them to safety using ropes. Seven people have died in the district with many areas experiencing 12 cm to 19 cm of rain on November 18.

In Kadapa district, five bodies were recovered by rescue teams from the overflowing Cheyyeru River (a tributary of the Pennar River). The river had heavy inflows from the Annamayya irrigation project, where an earthen bund was breached on November 19 resulting in flash floods and the inundation of several villages downstream.

Officials from the Kadapa district administration said that 12 bodies of persons who had been washed away after three buses of the Andhra Pradesh Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) were marooned in flood waters on November 19 had been recovered. The 12 were among the 30-odd passengers, drivers and conductors who had clambered atop the buses to escape the rising waters. Eighteen others were feared to have been washed away.

In Kadiri in Anantapur district, a house under construction collapsed on an adjoining building, resulting in at least 15 people, including two children, being buried under the rubble. Officials have recovered three bodies, including that of the children.

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