Fiji cyclone damage overwhelming, leader says

SUVA, Fiji — The South Pacific island nation of Fiji has suffered overwhelming damage from a powerful cyclone that battered its shores for more than three days, the prime minister said Wednesday as relief operations were launched in the country’s northern regions.

Fiji sent naval patrol boats laden with supplies and support staff sailing for the northern islands that bore the full brunt of the storm, while Australian and New Zealand air force planes began airlifting emergency supplies to the island group and carrying out surveillance over affected northern areas.

Only one death has been reported, but the full extent of the damage has yet to be determined because communications to the hardest hit areas were cut off for days.

“It is evident that wherever (Cyclone) Tomas has struck, the damage has been overwhelming,” Commodore Frank Bainimarama, Fiji’s prime minister and military chief, said Wednesday as the first reports began to roll in.

Cyclone Tomas, packing winds of up to 130 mph (205 kph) at its center and gusts of up to 175 mph (280 kph), started hitting Fiji late Friday. It blasted through the northern Lau and Lomaiviti island groups and the northern coast of the second biggest island, Vanua Levu, before losing strength as it moved out to sea Wednesday, the nation’s weather office said.

Matt Boterhoven, senior forecaster at Fiji’s Tropical Cyclone Center, said “the good news is it’s accelerating away from Fiji … and weakening in the cooler waters.”

All storm and strong wind warnings for Fiji have been canceled, he said. Earlier, sea surges of up to 23 feet (7 meters) were reported in the Lau island group, which was hit head-on by the cyclone, he said.

A nationwide curfew was lifted Wednesday, but a state of emergency will remain in effect for 30 days in the country’s northern and eastern divisions.

On the northern island of Koro, seven of the 14 villages have been badly damaged, said Julian Hennings, a spokesman for the island’s Dere Bay Resort.

“Some of the houses have blown away. A lot of trees have been uprooted, some of the roads have been blocked off because the waves have picked up rocks and coral and have dumped it on the road,” he said. One of four landing jetties was also severely damaged.

Tiny Cikobia Island, home to about 400 people, suffered four days of hammering from the cyclone, which smashed houses, uprooted trees, washed away all local boats and scattered debris across the island, Fiji Broadcasting Corp. reported Wednesday.

It received a brief phone call from an unnamed man at Vuninuku village on the island who said damage was so massive that it would take two days to clear the way to the only school near the village.

Before it could get the villager’s name, the phone line to the island went dead again, the state-owned station said. A surveillance flight will check the island later Wednesday and a navy patrol boat is expected to reach there Thursday.

National Disaster Management Office spokesman Pajiliai Dobui said aerial surveillance was already under way over some northern islands “and we hope to tell from the air how serious the damage has been.”

Offshore islands remained out of all contact “so we have still not got any word about casualties,” he said.

Power, water, sewage and communications were still disrupted in many northern areas, but a key airport at Labasa in northern Vanua Levu had reopened for emergency supply flights.

Troops have been deployed to provide relief, including food, water and basic supplies.

Anthony Blake, relief coordinator at the Disaster Management Office, said shelter was top priority after preliminary reports indicated Tomas had caused “extensive damage” to the Lau group and the northern island of Cikobia.

“The people are living in caves at the moment,” he said.

A New Zealand air force Hercules airplane that surveyed some northern areas found that “quite a few villages look like they have been hit pretty hard,” Squadron Leader Kavae Tamariki told New Zealand’s Stuff news Web site.

Many homes had lost their roofs and some houses were destroyed, he said, adding that not many people were seen. “We think they have fled to safety inland,” Tamariki said.

Fiji’s commissioner for its northern region, Col. Inia Seruratu, who was on board the flight, said he was confident most people were safe since they had received plenty of warning.

——–Associated Press

Chile quake toll rises to 708


A collapsed bridge over the Claro river is seen near the town of Camarico, Chile on Saturday. An 8.8-magnitude quake and a resulting tsunami killed more than 300 people in Chile.

The toll in the devastating earthquake in Chile has risen to 708, Chilean President Michelle Bachelet said.

The country was facing “a catastrophe of such unthinkable magnitude” and will need enormous efforts to recover, he said at a press conference Sunday, adding the fatalities may increase as the rescue efforts are continuing, Xinhua reported.

An earthquake measuring 8.8 on the Richter scale rocked Chile last Saturday, causing widespread destruction.

More than 300 dead in massive Chilean earthquake

A collapsed bridge over the Claro river is seen near the town of Camarico, Chile on Saturday. An 8.8-magnitude quake and a resulting tsunami killed more than 300 people in Chile

Chilean authorities were assessing the damage from a massive earthquake that killed more than 300 people, as Asian nations braced Sunday for the resulting tsunami that was still racing across the Pacific Ocean.
Hundreds of people were missing and feared trapped under the rubble of buildings that buckled under the force of the 8.8 magnitude quake, the strongest to hit the South American nation since 1960.
The earthquake occurred at 3:34 am (0634 GMT) Saturday, some 90 kilometres north—east of Concepcion, a city of 630,000 in Chile’s central coastal region.
Significant damage was reported in the capital Santiago, 320 kilometres north of the epicentre, affecting buildings, roads and closing the international airport.
Waves of 1.5 metres or less were reported in Hawaii, New Zealand and Australia. Comprehensive coastal warnings were issued in Japan, where the Chilean tsunami was expected Sunday afternoon with a height of up to 3 metres, and coastal residents on the Philippines Pacific shores fled for high ground in fear of the waves.
Some coastal areas of Chile were quickly struck by a post—quake wave, devastating some communities.
A wall of water swept across the Chilean island of Robinson Crusoe, 670 kilometres off the coast. Three people were reported missing on the island.
President Michelle Bachelet declared a state of disaster in the worst—hit regions south of Santiago. “I have no doubt that we will make it through this,” she said in a nationally televised address.
Sebastian Pinera, who takes over from her as head of state on March 11, appealed for solidarity.
The death toll rose throughout Saturday, reaching more than 300 by sundown. Authorities warned that more fatalities were likely.
In Conception, 150 people were feared trapped in a fallen, 14— storey apartment block.
“From the street we can hear the screaming of those who were caught under the new, 14—floor building,” one man said looking at the pile of rubble.
There were reports of unrest in one Santiago neighbourhood over shortages of water and power outages.
Santiago’s international airport was ordered closed to incoming and outgoing flights for at least three days, with a collapse reported in the terminal building. The city’s underground rail network was also closed.
Overturned cars littered motorway flyovers, which buckled and crumbled during the quake.
Power lines were down, water supplies were cut and burst gas pipes raised fears of explosions. Internet communications were disrupted and mobile phone networks badly damaged.
In Concepcion, damage was widespread. The offices of the region government were reported to have been destroyed, and the walls of the city’s prison collapsed, with hundreds of convicts reported to have escaped.
Chilean television showed footage of collapsed hospitals, burning buildings and wrecked bridges.Modern, high—rise buildings in Santiago were relatively unscathed by the quake and the scores of aftershocks.
With Chile’s prosperity and seismic history, the country has for decades required new construction to conform to earthquake-zone engineering standards.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon offered “rapid assistance” if sought by Chile. In Washington, President Barack Obama offered to deploy US resources “should the Chilean people need our help.” The quake was 50 times more powerful than the one that claimed more than 200,000 lives on January 12 Haiti, said the head of the University of Santiago’s Seismological Institute, Sergio Barrientos.
The worst earthquake to hit Chile occurred in 1960, when a 9.5—magnitude quake and tsunami claimed 6,000 lives.

Chile Earth Quake Photos/Images/Pictures—Image Gallery(A Collection)

Rain-related casualty in Tamil Nadu goes up to 71


Girls use a thermocol raft to reach their home at a flooded street in Chennai on Monday

The rain-related casualty in the State went up to 71 with the Nilgiris accounting for the death of 42 persons in the landslides.

Tirunelveli and Villupuram districts recorded the death of six persons each. The overall figure took into account those who died since October 1, a senior official of the Revenue department said.

An official release stated that the Nilgiris District Collector was directed to pay Rs. One lakh each to the families of the deceased. Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi asked Ministers Veerapandi S. Arumugam and Pongalur N. Palanisamy to rush to the Nilgiris. Commissioner of Revenue Administration and Principal Secretary N. Sundaradevan and Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) K. Radhakrishnan also left for the rain-hit district.

The services of the National Disaster Response Force had also been pressed in. The Chief Minister advised the officials to dispatch adequate strength of personnel from other departments such as Fire and Rescue Services, Health and Police, the official release said.

Dam breach in Kerala-Images


The flood waters released from Aliyar Dam gushing out of the breached right bank protection works of Moolathara Dam near Chittur on Sunday.


The flood water gushing out of the opened shutters of Moolathara Dam on Sunday after its right bank protection works got breached in the flood water released from Aliyar Dam.


The right bank protection works of Moolathara Dam washed out in the flood waters released from Aliyar Dam on Sunday.


The flooding of Chitturpuzha due to the breach of the Moolathara right bank protection works due to the release of water from Aliyar Dam on Sunday.


The `Nilampathy bridge’ (Causeway) at Chittur that was submerged in the flood waters due to the breaching of the Moolatharam Dam right bank protection works on Sunday

124 dead, 60 missing in El Salvador flooding


Residents stand on a bridge that collapsed due to heavy rain in Zacatecoluca, El Salvador on Sunday, Nov. 8 , 2009

 Mud and boulders loosened by heavy rains swept down a volcano and partly buried a small town on Sunday, swallowing up homes as flooding and landslides across El Salvador killed at least 124 people

Mud and boulders loosened by heavy rains swept down a volcano and partly buried a small town on Sunday, swallowing up homes as flooding and landslides across El Salvador killed at least 124 people, authorities said.

Hundreds of soldiers, police and residents dug through rock and debris looking for another 60 missing from the mudslide, which struck before dawn Sunday while people were still in their beds.

Matias Mendoza, 26, was at home with his wife Claudia and their year-old son, Franklin, when the earth began moving.

“It was about two in the morning when the rain started coming down harder, and the earth started shaking,” Mendoza recalled. “I warned my wife and grabbed my son, and all of a sudden we heard a sound. The next thing I knew I was lying among parts of the walls of my house.”

“A few minutes later, I found my wife and my son in the middle of the rubble, and, thank God, we’re alive,” said Mendoza, who suffered cuts on his check that emergency workers stitched up.

Almost 7,000 people saw their homes damaged by landslides or cut off by floodwaters following three days of downpours from a low—pressure system indirectly related to Hurricane Ida, which brushed Mexico’s Cancun resort on Sunday before steaming into the Gulf of Mexico.

President Mauricio Funes declared a national emergency and said that he would work with the United Nations to evaluate the extent of the damage.

“The images that we have seen today are of a devastated country,” Funes said. “The damages are for the moment incalculable.”

Some of the worst damage was in the town of Verapaz, where mudslides covered cars and boulders two yards (meters) wide blocked streets.

The rain loosened a flow of mud and rocks that descended from the nearby Chichontepec volcano and buried homes and streets in Verapaz, a town of about 3,000 located 50 kms east of San Salvador, the capital.

“It was terrible. The rocks came down on top of the houses and split them in two, and split the pavement,” recalled Manuel Melendez, 61, who lived a few doors down from Mendoza. Both their homes were destroyed Sunday morning.

“I heard people screaming all around,” Melendez said.

There were 10 confirmed dead and about 60 missing in Verapaz, said Red Cross spokesman Carlos Lopez Mendoza said.

Amid a persistent drizzle, rescuers dug frantically for survivors with shovels and even their bare hands. But the search was made difficult by collapsed walls, boulders and downed power lines that blocked heavy machinery.

“What happened in Verapaz was something terrible,” said Interior Minister Humberto Centeno, who flew over the city Sunday to survey the damage. “It is a real tragedy there.”

At least 13 other people were killed in San Vicente province, where Verapaz is located.

Provincial Gov. Manuel Castellanos said workers were struggling to clear roadways and power and water service had been knocked out, and at least 300 houses were flooded after a river in Verapaz overflowed its banks, Lopez Mendoza said.

In San Salvador, authorities reported 61 dead. Lopez Mendoza said the toll included a family of four — two adults and two children — who were killed when a mudslide buried their home Sunday morning.

The remaining victims were buried by slides or carried away by raging rivers in other parts of the country, Vice Interior Minister Ernesto Zelayandia told The Associated Press.

The days of rain in El Salvador’s mountains were quickly funneled down into populated valleys.

Hurricane Ida’s presence in the western Caribbean may have played a role in drawing a Pacific low—pressure system toward El Salvador, causing the rains, said Dave Roberts, a Navy hurricane specialist at the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami.

He added, however, that “if there were deaths associated with this rainfall amount in El Salvador, I would not link it to Ida.”

750,000 children need help in flood hit Andhra, Karnataka



 Sending out a call for help, international NGO Save the Children estimates that around 7,50,000 children are in desperate need of clean water, medical care and food in the flood-hit districts of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.

If help doesn’t reach fast, there is an imminent threat of an outbreak of diarrhoea and other water-borne diseases that will further risk the lives of millions of children and others, the NGO said.

“Thirteen per cent of all under-five children in Andhra Pradesh are already acutely malnourished. The high levels of acute malnutrition in this region mean that children are far more likely to die of diarrhoea and acute respiratory disease -the biggest killers of children in India,” Thomas Chandy, CEO of Save the Children, said.

P. Raghu of ActionAid, another international NGO working for the flood victims in both Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, added: “Our flood rescue teams are overwhelmed. Thousands are still languishing without food and water.”

According to Save the Children, over 2,75,000 people have been forced to flee their homes, leaving behind everything. Two hundred villages have been completely submerged. “Children are most vulnerable in any emergency and the floods come on top of an already dire situation. This is a crisis on top of an emergency,” Mr. Chandy said.

“Around 3,50,000 children under five die annually of diarrhoea in India and this time we fear the worst. We need corporate houses, individuals, everyone to come forward to strengthen our efforts on the ground. Any little help that we receive will ensure that one more child will be safe, healthy and protected.”

.8,000 sq-km submerged in a day


Vijaywada, Oct. 6 — The furious river waters sheared for days through farmland and homes, inundating 20 lakh acres every day – Delhi five times over, or 13 cities the size of Mumbai. The Krishna rushed in from the Almatti dam in Karnataka and submerged 8,000 sq-km of land in a day. It now stands at the gates of the British colonial-era Prakasam Barrage in Andhra Pradesh next door, and a breach here could submerge vast swathes in the state’s rice-rich Krishna and Guntur districts. The Prakasam barrage is a key passageway for the Krishna, which meanders through Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh on way to the Bay of Bengal. On Tuesday, hundreds jostled here despite restrictions. Nearby, on a hillock, is the Kanaka Durga temple. People here believe that the day the idol is submerged, the entire city of Vijaywada will be washed away. If it does, it would be blamed on tardy cooperation between the two states. Until Saturday night, Andhra Pradesh did not evacuate people from the catchment of the Nagarjunasagar Dam as the Karnataka government assured that no more water would be released from its Srisalam dam. But as floodwaters poured in, gates were opened at Srisalam, worsening the situation. “There appeared to be a breakdown of communication between the two neighbouring states,” said a senior official of the National Disaster Management Authoritry (NDMA), speaking on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the subject. But technology might soon make up for government delays. NDMA member NVC Menon said that by 2012, people would be alerted about rising water within minutes of it being tracked by satellites. Sloth after natural disasters is a annual story in India, a flood prone nation where tackling flooding comes under the states’ domain and New Delhi’s financial assistance since 2007 of Rs 8,000 crore (Rs 80 billion) has shown few results. Then, there is the lack of accountability.

“In the last 60 years, not a single engineer has ever been charged or punished for mismanagement of these dams,” he said.

Hindustan Times

.Millions homeless as flood claims 260 lives in K’taka, AP


Even as the centre assured Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka that funds were not a constraint to rehabilitate the flood-ravaged people in the two states, fresh flooding inundated dozens of villages in Krishna and Guntur districts in Andhra Pradesh.

The rain and flood havoc that began Sep 30 in the northern districts of Karnataka and moved to engulf neighbouring areas in Andhra Pradesh have so far claimed around 260 lives in the two states and has left millions homeless.

According to an official statement, the toll in Karnataka is 206 and fifty-two deaths have been reported in Andhra Pradesh.

The Karnataka government has estimated the loss to property and crops at Rs.20,000 crore. Andhra Pradesh has put its losses at Rs.12,500 crore.

Apart from claiming 52 lives, the floods in Andhra Pradesh have affected over 1.6 million people in five districts. Half a million people are homeless.

In Karnataka, around 290,000 houses have been partially or fully damaged in around 1,500 villages and over 5,000 cattle have perished. About 660,000 people have taken shelter in over 1,600 relief camps.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh sanctioned ex-gratia of Rs.100,000 each to the families of those killed in the floods in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Goa.

In a statement, the prime minister expressed grief over the loss of lives in the four states. The ex-gratia would be paid from the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund to the next of kin of the deceased.

Centre also sanctioned Rs five crore to Goa as relief fund after its bordering Canacona taluka faced worst ever floods last weekend. Goa Chief Minister Digamber Kamat met

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Delhi and apprised him of the situation.

After that a Central team will be sent to Goa to assess the damage. “The Prime Minister has assured Kamat maximum financial aid for the state,” the spokesman added.

Yahoo! India News




.Some respite from rain in Karnataka, toll rises to 170

Flood-hit north Karnataka had some respite from heavy rains and further havoc Sunday even as the death toll mounted to 170, officials said here. The state has, meanwhile, intensified rescue and relief operations in the worst-hit districts.



“There is respite from rains and further flooding in north Karnataka since the last 12 hours while coastal and central parts of the state continue to receive moderate to heavy rains,” H.V. Parashwanath, state drought management authority secretary, told IANS.

The state government has intensified relief and rehab works in the 10 worst-affected districts of the region to provide succour and shelter to thousands of people, who were forced to flee their villages and towns due to the flash floods that left a trail of death and destruction.

“About 177,500 people are being sheltered and fed at 598 rehab centres opened across the affected districts. Many others stranded in villages and smaller towns due to flood waters and damage to road links have been shifted to school buildings and community halls,” Parashwanath said.

With rainfall decreasing since Saturday in an overcast region, water levels have also started receding in the flooded areas. But severe damage to roads, bridges and state/national highways is hampering supplies and rehabilitation works.

“We have air-dropped about 20,000 food packets in the last 12 hours in the marooned villages of Bijapur, Bagalkot, Bellary, Koppal, Raichur and Gulbarga districts as the affected people remained cut—off,” Parashwanath said.

About 100 members of the Pune-based disaster recovery task force have been working in six districts to search and rescue people from remote and inaccessible areas using 40 boats.

Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa, who is surveying the entire region by air and on road since late Friday, estimated the loss in terms of life, agriculture produce and property at about Rs.100 billion (Rs.10,000 crore) due to excessive rains and flash floods since Sep 29-30.

Hoping that the worst was over as far as rains and floods were concerned, Parashwanath said the state irrigation department continued to discharge water from dams and reservoirs in the catchment areas of the region due to heavy inflows from upstream in the Krishna river basin from Maharashtra.

“Thousands of cusecs of water is being released from Almatti dam in Bagalkot district, Tungabhadra dam near Hospet in Bellary district and Narayanpura in Gulbarga district to prevent overflowing and breaches,” the official added.

.Three Andhra towns, 200 villages still under flood waters


The flood situation in Andhra Pradesh continued to be grim on Sunday as three towns and over 200 villages in the worst-hit districts remained under water.

Though the inflows into Krishna and Tungabhadra rivers have slightly reduced, this has not ended the misery of people in Kurnool and Mahbubnagar, the two worst affected districts due to unprecedented floods over the last three days.

Most parts of Nandyal town in Kurnool district were inundated due to the overflowing Kondu river. There is five to 10 feet water in the town as local authorities began efforts to rescue people trapped on roof—tops.

The floods triggered by heavy rains under the influence of a deep depression in the Bay of Bengal inundated 400 villages and affected over 1.8 million people in five districts, rendering 400,000 people homeless and damaging thousands of houses. The floods also destroyed standing crops, civic infrastructure, electricity and telecom facilities and paralysed road and rail transport.

Without food and water for the last three days, hundreds of people remained trapped in flood waters. In Kurnool town, a large number of people remained marooned for the third day. The authorities have so far evacuated over 100,000 people in the town and surrounding areas.

The town, about 250 km from here, was flooded due to the overflowing Tungabhadra and Hundri rivers and the backwaters of Srisailam dam across the Krishna river.

The temple town of Mantralayam in Kurnool district was also ravaged by the floods. Rescue workers found bodies lying at several places.

Officials said the floods have so far claimed 33 lives but unofficial reports put them at 50. Dinesh Kumar, commissioner (disaster management), said 15 people were killed in Kurnool district while 13 died in Mahbubnagar. The remaining deaths were reported from Nalgonda, Guntur and Krishna districts.

The exact death toll would be known only after the water recedes completely in the affected towns and villages.

The water level at the Srisailam dam continued to be 10 feet above its capacity of 885 feet. Chief Minister K. Rosaiah, who stayed at the secretariat for the second successive night to monitor the situation, told reporters Sunday that there was no threat to the dam.

“There is also no threat to Nagarjuna Sagar and Prakasam barrage,” he said.

As massive inflows are reaching Prakasam barrage, authorities in Vijayawada city and low—lying villages in Krishna and Guntur districts went on high alert. The chief minister said people were being forcibly evacuated to save their lives.

He appealed to people in the two districts to cooperate with the authorities by moving to safer places. “This is required for the safety of the people and also for the safety of the dams,” he said.

Authorities have evacuated 89,000 people in Krishna district while another 130,000 people need to be evacuated. In Guntur district, 40,000 people were shifted to relief camps while another 48,000 would be shifted Sunday.

Meanwhile, army, navy and air force personnel stepped up rescue and relief operations. Using the Hyderabad—Bangalore highway at Beechpally in Mahbubnagar as their air base, four Indian Air Force helicopters were dropping food and water sachets in the marooned areas. Authorities are also using 257 boats to rescue people

.Flood situation in Andhra turns grim, Mantralayam submerges




Flood gushes


Flood gushes through Srisailam crest gates as the dam started handling 10 lakh cusecs on Thursday, which was the highest in last decade.


Kurnool Manthralayam

The flood situation in Kurnool and Mahabubnagar districts of Andhra Pradesh turned grim on Friday as large number of residential localities were submerged and there was heavy inflow of water into various reservoirs.

Though Chief Minister K. Rosaiah said no report of any death till late noon, scores of people in the remote areas of the two districts are believed to have gone missing as various rivers and rivulets were flowing at dangerous level.

Incessant rains and water coming into the Tungabhadra, Krishna and Handri rivers due to the heavy rains in upper riparian Karnataka resulted in a sheet of water enveloping a number of residential localities in Kurnool town and the district.

The government has set up relief camps on the outskirts of Kurnool and people are being rescued with over 15 boats, officials said. “We ran out of our home as water was entering the house menacingly. We have nothing with us. We don’t know how we feed our children,” a group of women said in Kurnool.

Mantralayam marooned

Mantralayam in Kurnool district, home to the renowned Raghavendra Swamy mutt, was submerged with water and people reached atop their houses to save themselves.

Mantralayam MLA B Balanagi Reddy was himself stuck on top of his house with a large number of people and was desperately seeking help, official sources said.

In Mahabubnagar district too, large number of villages were flooded with water, the sources said.

Meanwhile, water level was rising menacingly with heavy inflow of water coming into them in Srisailam, Jurala and other irrigation projects.

Eleven gates of the Srisailam dam have been opened as over 15 lakh cusecs of inflow was entering into it, an engineering official of the dam said.

Meanwhile, the government has rushed senior IAS officials to Kurnool, Mahabubnagar and Krishna districts to organise relief operations.

Four helicopters – three for Kurnool district and one for Mahabubnagar district – are being pressed into service to take up rescue and relief operations, officials said.

Arrangements have been made to provide food and water to the flood victims and also to evacuate them to safer places, they said.

.Armed forces intensify rescue operations

The armed forces on Saturday intensified search, rescue and relief operations in flood-ravaged Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.

The IAF has deployed 13 helicopters — 5 MI-8 and 8 Chetaks in the two States and they have flown 17 sorties. In addition, 4 AN-32 transport aircraft carried out 13 sorties airlifting men and material provided by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), Pune, to the affected areas, a Defence Ministry release said.

One AN-32 sortie carrying relief material to Kurnool, from Arkullaum to Hyderabad, had to be diverted to Karnataka as the road link was washed away in many places. Relief material, boats and other equipment later reached Kurnool.

Many jawans and boats that were to be moved from Bangalore to Bellary were held up due to heavy rain in the west coast. Navy personnel from Karwar and Goa are engaged in relief operations in Karnataka.

The IAF will also fly the IL-76, its largest transport aircraft, from Bhubaneswar to Bangalore/Puttapurthy, to transport 350 men and 50 boats.

An additional 100 men and 30 boats are also being flown in from Pune to Hyderabad. Further, 270 men and 30 boats will be airlifted from Bhatinda and Delhi.

In Vijayawada, the Eastern Naval Command has been put on standby for any eventuality.

The Army has deployed 10 columns of its men — two in Kurnool, three in Mahbubnagar, two in Vijayawada, two in Bagalkot and one in Bijapur. One column is on standby in Goa.

The Navy has deployed 12 diving teams with Gemini boats. Of these, two are in Vijayawada, three in Mahbubnagar, two in Kannur, three in Gadag and two in Karwar. The Navy has so far rescued 130 people; 150 stranded at Karwar base are being provided food and shelter.

.‘State failed to read flood warning signs’

HYDERABAD: Leaders of the Opposition parties on Saturday felt the impact of the heavy rains and floods would have been much less if there was better coordination among Central Water Commission, irrigation and Meteorology departments.

They told press persons after attending an all-party meeting convened by the Chief Minister K. Rosaiah to review the flood situation that unprecedented inundation could have been avoided if the Government was alert and read early flood warning signals properly.

The meeting was attended by representatives of Telugu Desam, Praja Rajyam, CPI, CPI(M), MIM, BJP and Lok Satta. TDP leaders Kadiam Srihari and Umareddy Venkateswarulu said water from the Srisailam dam was not released in time.

Mr. Srihari said that submersion of large part of Kurnool town was not due to rising water level in Srisailam but because Tungabhadra and Handri were in spate. “If rising level in Srisailam dam was the cause, why did flood water recede in Kurnool town on Saturday when the level touched all time high of 895 ft against its full reservoir level of 885 ft?” he asked. CPI leader K. Narayana said Mantralayam was inundated because Sunkesula barrage was not maintained properly, he added.

.Two planeloads of relief material dispatched

75 expert divers from Cuttack also fly to Kurnool for rescue operations

ANANTAPUR: The National Disaster Management and Relief Force (NDRMF) has rushed two planeloads of relief material along with 75 expert divers from Cuttack, Orissa State by flights belonging to Indian Air Force to Kurnool district, according to official sources.

The two IAF planes arrived at Puttaparthy Airport on Saturday. The material including 20 life-saving boats and jackets apart from 1 lakh water packets, 80,000 rice packets, 30,000 bread packets,50,000 bed sheets and 5,000 milk packets were downloaded from the aircrafts and sent by lorries to Kurnool on Saturday evening.

Sai Baba’s appeal

Meanwhile, Bhagavan Satya Sai Baba has in a statement appealed to Sai volunteers to rush to the beleaguered people of Kurnool district and help the district administration in the job of relief and rehabilitation. Collector B. Janardhan Reddy flagged off tonnes of relief material through Joint Collector Anitha Ramachandran to the people of Kurnool through 17 teams of volunteers carrying food and relief material. Joint Collector accompanied the teams to Kurnool. The relief and food materiel was donated by different sections of people including NGOs. The material including 10 country boats, 10,000 bread packets,20,000 water packets, 800 biscuit packets, 30,000 food packets 10,000 bed sheets and 1,000 milk packets etc.

.Over 150 villages face flood threat

GUNTUR: Hundreds of people living in lanka villages beside the rampaging Krishna river continue to live in fear of being marooned even as officials have began a massive operation to evacuate people. But the officials were having a tough time in evacuating the villagers who are reluctant to move out of their houses for fear of their houses being burgled. With the irrigation officials expecting a discharge of 10 lakh cusecs into the Prakasam Barrage on Saturday night, more than 150 villages spread in 12 mandals face the flood threat. The outflows from Nagarjuna Sagar came down marginally from 9.62 lakh Cusecs in the evening to about 9.17 lakh Cusecs at about 7 p.m., while the reservoir continues to receive heavy inflows of 15.34 lakh Cusecs from the Srisailam reservoir. The outflow is however expected to raise to 10 lakh Cusecs by night and on Sunday morning.

The looming flood threat would also maroon agricultural fields and could cause heavy loss to commercial crops, like cotton, chilli and turmeric


.Over 15 feared dead in Mahabubnagar



Rescue and relief operations in full swing, says Collector

MAHABUBNAGAR: Over 15 persons had reportedly died due to heavy rains that lashed the district in the last five days. According to official sources B. Swarna of Jadcherla, Soma Shekaraiah of Maganoor, G.Buchaiah of Yedira, Yerra Ranganna of Athmakur, Subash of Gadwal, K.Thimma Reddy and Sale Nagamma of Rajoli villages died due to house collapses.

Janakiram Goud, B.Raghurama Reddy of Balanagar, C.Shankaraih of Kalwakurthy, Yerukula Ramakrishnaiah of Perur, Shabaz and Akhil of Jadcherla washed away in the floods. And two more bodies recovered at Rajoli village are yet to be identified.

On Saturday four villages Somashila, Manchalakatta, Bollaram and Amaragiri in Kollapur constituency were inundated with the increase of Srisailam backwater-level. Panicked villagers ran away leaving everything in their houses to safety places. Though the district administration has setup a relief camp at Kollapur, there were few takers as many who fled from their villages took shelter at their relatives houses in safer areas.

89 villages affected

Collector K. Damayanthi said that over 89 villages located near the banks of Krishna and Thungabadra rivers in the district were affected and added that district administration has taken up relief and rehabilitation measures in full swing.

She said that 74 rehabilitation centers were setup, giving shelter to 1.34 lakh flood victims.

She informed that over 20,000 food and water packets were air-dropped in the villages, which were marooned. With the help of four helicopters of Air Force some victims who were trapped at Gudeballur and Naragadda villages were air-lifted.

She said that 1,398 houses were completely damaged while 10,280 houses were partially damaged. Crops in 3,256 hectors have inundated. The Collector said that district administration was taking the help of Army, Navy and National Disaster Relief teams in rescue and relief operations

.Kundu river batters Nandyal



Thirty-two villages along its course inundated

KURNOOL: After the Tungabhadra, it appears to be the turn of Kundu river now to burst its banks and wreak havoc. On Saturday, the river overflowed at many places and inundated 15 residential areas in Nandyal town and 32 villages along its course.

The backwaters of Srisailam reservoir were more dangerous to Nandyal area than Kurnool.

As the level in the Srisailam reservoir rose to 896 ft today, the flood overflowed Pothireddypadu head regulator and surged towards Kundu river through Srisailam Right Main Canal.

Kundu received 2 lakh cusecs as against its carrying capacity of 40,000 cusecs.

The flood inundated Jagatjanani Nagar, Nadigadda, Harijanapet and other localities. Water got stagnated to a depth of seven to right feet in some houses.

A total of 46 villages were affected by the fury of Kundu river while life was paralysed in 32 villages. The families were evacuated to safer places.

In transit

In Nandyal town alone, 2,000 families were shifted. As the safety of Nandyal town was in a serious peril, the officials breached the bund of Chinna Cheruvu tank to ease pressure on the tank.

Santha Jutur, Ramapuram, Bhimavaram, Padamatur, Maddur and Togarachedu were seriously affected by the flood.

Revenue Divisional Officer Madhavilatha supervised the evacuation while Minister Shilpa Mohan Reddy and MP S.P.Y. Reddy toured the affected areas.

The residents of hundreds of villages on the Kundu river were in the grip of fear psychosis on Saturday.

As the backwater level in the Srisailam was expected to rise further, the situation remained grim through the Kundu river belt.

.Flood victims narrate harrowing tales



A woman had to part with her ‘tali’ to pay the boatman to shift her family

KURNOOL: The harrowing tales of flood victims who were trapped inside their homes for 24 hours unfolded as they walked to freedom on Saturday. Like many, it was a nightmare for Iqbal and members of the family too, who were stranded in their house at Chatribagh in the old city.

Like all neighbours, Mr. Iqbal too ignored the first warning when the street was flooded. He could not convince his sick sister and 14 other family members to shift to other place. Soon the water entered the ground floor forcing them into the first floor.


As they moved into the upper storey of their own building, little did Mr. Iqbal and other members realise that they were going to be trapped inside. After the ground floor, the flood invaded the next one too, closing all options for the family to escape.

On the top floor, the facilities were meagre for the family. No water, no food and no electricity for the next 24 hours. The blood pressure of the sick woman shot up but the medicines were washed away in the flood. Children cried for food and water while the elders were worried about the chances of their survival.

Mr. Iqbal as the family head was in a helpless state except making frantic calls to friends living outside the flood zone. His prayer for a boat was not heard until the flood receded on its own on Saturday and made a way for the family to come out. “The boatmen who made sorties along side the walls of his house demanded Rs. 5,000 for which I was not prepared”, he lamented.

No control

The private boatmen who had no control of the administration made brisk business. A woman living on S. Nagappa street gave her “tali” to the boatman towards charges to shift her family, eye witnesses said. Another family, which could not afford to pay the bribe fitted a metal-framed cot with four tubes and rafted the women and children to safety. Many men used tubes as boats to sail to safety.

Anasuyamma, a paralytic patient was left alone in the house on the top floor at Flower Market as the family could not shift her. Her son left the woman with a heavy heart promising to collect her after the flood receded if she was alive. He kept his word and shifted the mother in a safe condition today.