Heavy rains and flash floods in Andhra Pradesh (AP) have claimed 45 lives in the past two days, with the situation still grim in coastal areas Saturday, Indo- Asian News Service (IANS) reported.
Some 70 soldiers Saturday joined civil authorities in rescue and relief operations in the worst hit Kurnool district. Helicopters were also pressed into service.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, who reviewed the situation and relief measures at a high-level meeting Saturday, said rains had receded in the coastal districts over the last few hours but Kurnool and parts of Rayalseema and Mahabubnagar district continued to receive heavy rains.
IANS quoted weather officials as saying that a low-pressure area that crossed the Andhra coast early Friday triggering the heavy rains was moving towards other south Indian state Karnataka and west Indian state Maharashtra.
They have forecast heavy rains in parts of Andhra Pradesh and neighboring states.
Dozens of towns and villages remained inundated. Local authorities rescued about 40 people trapped in vehicles in swirling waters.
Authorities evacuated hundreds from low-lying areas along Krishna and Godavari rivers.
Two helicopters have left for Kurnool and Guntur districts for relief operations. About 4,000 food packets and 140,000 water sachets would be air dropped in the inundated towns and villages.
A helicopter is looking for eight missing people in East Godavari district.
The authorities have opened 95 relief camps in the affected districts to provide shelter to 56,000 people, who were evacuated from low-lying areas. The chief minister said 51 camps were opened in Kurnool district alone.
Kurnool district accounts for 21 deaths. Five people were killed in Guntur, four in Prakasam, three each in Kadpa and Karimnagar and two in Hyderabad. The remaining deaths were reported from Srikakulam and East and West Godavari districts.
The incessant rains since Thursday and flash floods damaged paddy nurseries in the fertile coastal region while strong gales uprooted trees, electricity and communication poles snapping electricity supply to many towns and villages.
Hundreds of trucks and buses were stranded on waterlogged highways. The Chennai-Kolkata highway was cut off. Train services also came to standstill in Kurnool and Guntur districts as railway tracks were submerged at a few points.
Several parts of Macherla town in Guntur district, Kurnool and Nandyal towns in Kurnool district and Ongole town in Prakasam district and dozens of villages were water-logged as rivulets, streams, irrigation channels and tanks were overflowing.
Rajasekhara Reddy announced compensation of Rs.200,000 for the kin of each of those killed. He said houses that have destroyed would be rebuilt.