Three students feared washed away in Prakasam district

Three students, including two girls, are feared to have been washed away in a rivulet in Kumaraole mandal in the West Prakasam district on Wednesday as incessant rain lashed almost the whole of coastal Andhra Pradesh following a low pressure area in the Bay of Bengal.

A police team headed by Markapur DSP Ramanjaneyulu launched a massive search operation for the three who went missing in the Sageleruvagu, a rivulet that received massive inflows. They were among 15 students who took the shorter route and locals and police could rescue the other students who were stranded in the swirling waters.

The coastal districts were impounded by heavy rain under the influence of the “well marked low pressure area’’ that was likely to convert into a depression, leaving the standing crop in huge tracts of land inundated. Normal life was thrown out of gear in the rain-battered districts and almost all the major rivers and rivulets were in spate. The gates of projects across Gundlakamma, Thatipudi and other rivers had been lifted.

The Met Department has forecast heavy downpour on Thursday too following which the administration had been kept on high alert with equipment, including boats, to evacuate people, particularly those in the low-lying areas. Control rooms with toll-free telephone facility were set up to rush to the affected areas and assist the people in distress.

In Srikakulam that was recently subject to the fury of tropical cyclone Phailin, crops over an extent of 25,000 acres were inundated due to the heavy rain, amounting to as high as 17 cm in several areas. The onset of the North East monsoon had accentuated their woes with heavy inflows into the Vamsadhara, Nagavalli, and Mahendratanaya rivers.

Officials lifted gates of projects across these rivers allowing water downstream as a precautionary measure. According to information, officials commenced evacuation of families in low-lying areas in Vizianagaram district even as a dozen villages had remained cut off due to heavy flooding. Low-lying areas in Kakinada remained under a sheet of water . Traffic on the East Coast highway in Prakasam district came to a grinding halt as the road remained submerged under water from the Gundlakamma project. Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy reviewed the situation arising out of the heavy rains in the coastal areas with Chief Secretary P.K. Mohanty and other senior officials.