Hyderabad, Nov 2010: Torrential rains in the State, caused by a trough of low pressure lying over the Bay of Bengal adjoining Andhra-Tamil Nadu coasts, have claimed 20 lives so far, besides damaging crops in over 5.98 lakh acres partially or fully and destroying public and private properties at several places.
East Godavari and Visakhapatnam accounted for six deaths each; Nellore, Prakasam and Anantapur two each; and West Godavari and Chittoor one each. Besides, six persons are reported missing. Paddy, cotton, maize and soyabean crop was damaged in Srikakulam, Vizianagaram, Karimnagar, Nizamabad, Prakasam and Krishna also.
Disaster Management Commissioner T. Radha said many rivulets, streams and tanks, which were in spate in these districts, overflowed onto roads. The running of several long distance trains was delayed by three to five hours as a railway track was damaged between Singarayakonda and Ulavapadu in Prakasam district was damaged.
These trains include those to and from New Delhi, Ahmedabad, Howrah and Thiruvananthapuram. Floodwater overflowed the Chennai-Kolkata national highway in both Singarayakonda and Ulavapadu mandals affected the track. Ulavapadu recorded 28 cms of rain.
The rains spared the North Coastal Andhra on Tuesday but lashed Prakasam, Anantapur, Kadapa and Chittoor. The depression in the sea near Thailand, which got downgraded into a low pressure area, however, threatened to reach the South Andaman Sea by Wednesday evening and intensify into a cyclonic storm. Weathermen said the system was heading towards the Tamil Nadu coast.
Reviewing the situation soon after his return from New Delhi, Chief Minister K. Rosaiah sought the continuance of the alert by the Collectors of all the coastal districts and issued instructions to keep the Disaster Management Response Force at Arakonam ready.
He noted that rains affected 763 villages in 228 mandals, damaged 23,000 houses fully and over 4,000 partially. Over 26,574 persons were evacuated and sheltered at 92 relief camps. Preliminary reports reaching Vizianagaram put the damage to paddy in an extent of 10,000 hectares, banana in 125.10 ha and cotton in 8.10ha.
About 200 houses were fully damaged and another 600 partially. There has been no let-up in rain battering the fort town since Friday night. Three deaths were reported on the outskirts of Kakinada – two due to snapping of electricity wires. A 70-year-old women of Lankatotha village near Pamarru died due to wall-collapse