20 dead as rain batters Andhra


Heavy rain due to a low pressure area over the Bay of Bengal and northeast monsoon has led to flash floods in Coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions. At least 20 people died, while 12 were reported missing from across the state. Thousands of people were evacuated from low-lying areas as the Met Department warned of heavy rain in the next 24 hours.

Many areas of Srikakulam district were flooded with the Nagavali river above danger mark. Kalingapatnam, which had so far escaped the fury of cyclone Phailin, received the highest rainfall since Thursday, submerging large areas.

Over 50,000 people had to be shifted from flooded areas. Guntur district was one of the worst affected with over 10,000 people in low-lying areas being moved to relief camps.

In Nalgonda district, flooding forced people to take shelter on rooftops. The state disaster management authority sought the help of National Disaster Response Force teams to rescue stranded people. Ten NDRF teams are engaged in relief operations.

To make matters worse, several irrigation canals have been breached and swollen rivulets have flooded highways.

The South Central Railway reported that some trains have been diverted and others slowed down, but there are no cancellations so far. Some buses, particularly on routes involving streams and lakes, were also cancelled.

Standing crops, including paddy, maize, sugar cane and cotton, in over 20 lakh hectares were submerged or destroyed.

A statement from Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy's office stated that the death toll due to the rain had reached 20. More than 135 relief camps have been opened and 68,000 people have been moved to safety.

In Hyderabad, too, heavy rain lashed many areas leading to waterlogging.

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