The worst rains and floods in parts of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh left 172 dead as authorities today intensified rescue efforts with army troops backed by IAF helicopters shifting marooned villagers from rooftops to safer areas.
While 156 people perished in the heavy rains that battered 15 districts of Karnataka, 16 people were killed in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh whose five districts were hit by the flash flood.
However, the death count in both the states is likely to go up as many flood-hit areas were still to be accessed in Andhra Pradesh and between 11 and 21 persons were feared buried under mounds following landslide in a hillock at Kadawada village in Uttara Kannada where two bodies have been recovered, officials said.
Relief for A.P.
In some good news for Andhra Pradesh, the situation in worst-hit Kurnool, Krishna and Mahboobnagar districts showed signs of easing with the water level in flooded areas receding and discharge of water from dams slowing down.
Huge loss for Karnataka
By contrast, torrential rains continued to ravage North Karnataka on Saturday, raising the toll to 156 as vast areas went under water and over a lakh houses were flattened amidst stepped up rescue and relief operations by defence personnel.
Official sources said that in worst-hit Bijapur district, the number of deaths has risen to 30. Neighbouring Bagalkote accounted for 20 deaths since September 28, followed by Raichur (19), Gulbarga (18), Koppal (17), Bellary (12),
Davangere (nine), Chitradurga (eight), Gadag (seven), Belgaum (six), Uttara Kannada (five), Bidar (four) and Dharwad (one).
Karnataka Home Minister V S Acharya said torrential rains have damaged 1,03,291 houses and government has opened 479 relief camps where 1,23,653 people have taken shelter.
Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa conducted an aerial survey of the affected districts of Bellary, Koppal and Raichur and as also the submerged temple town of Mantralaya, where the 16th century saint Raghavendra Swami was believed to have attained 'jeevasamadhi' in Andhra Pradesh's Kurnool district, bordering the state.
In Andhra Pradesh, the flood situation is slowly improving as the water level is receding in the worst-affected Kurnool, Mahabubnagar and Krishna districts.
There has been an improvement in the situation with inflows from Tungabhadra at Vaddepally and Iza mandals in Mahabubnagar have decreased, Chief Minister K Rosaiah told reporters in Hyderabad.
In Kurnool district, the water level has come down in Handri by seven to eight feet and in Tungabhadra by three to four feet, he said.
Though the official death toll has been put at 16, the number is likely to be much higher as a large number of people were missing in many remote places of the district which are yet to be accessed, officials said.
Chief Minister K Rosaiah announced an ex-gratia of Rs one lakh to the kin of the deceased and financial assistance to the victims.
About 1,34,000 people in Mahabubnagar district, over 1.05 lakh in Kurnool and 15,000 in Krishna district and more than one lakh people in Vijayawada city alone have been shifted to safer places, Mr. Rosaiah said.