Vast expanses of fields, habitations inundated in Srikakulam, Vizianagaram and Visakhapatnam districts

The rain fury shifted to Srikakulam, Vizianagaram and Visakhapatnam districts on Monday, even as Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy announced a relief package for the flood-affected people.

Four children were burnt alive in a fire that broke out following short-circuit caused by water-logging in West Godavari. The rain-related death toll rose to 29. Crops in over 15 lakh acres suffered damage.

The skies opened up over the three north coastal districts, causing flash floods in most rivers and tanks, converting vast expanses of fields and habitations into cesspools. Rivers Nagavali and Vamsadhara flowed ferociously at Srikakulam, breaching tanks and inundating villages and crops, throwing life out of gear. A bridge on the Palakonda-Parvatipuram route developed cracks.

Most of the villages were affected in Visakhapatnam district, where the main rivers, the Varaha, the Meghadrigadda, the Matyagadda, the Machkhund, the Sarada and the Gostani were in spate. The scene in Vizianagaram was no different as the Champa and the Vengalrayasagar flooded the Salur, Bobbili and Parvathipuram areas.

By evening, there was a let-up in the flood fury as the low pressure dissipated. The Rajahmundry-Visakhapatnam railway link connecting Chennai and Howrah was restored on Sunday evening when officials repaired the bridge over the Tandavi river between Tuni and Payakaraopet.

Work was in full swing to lay the track on the Kirandul-Visakhapatnam section that was damaged.

Government help reached only 68,000 people at the 170 relief camps opened in the affected districts, whereas lakhs of others went without food in other areas. Drinking water could not be made available in 47 municipalities as their pump houses were inundated.

After reviewing the situation with Ministers, the Chief Minister announced that he would visit the flood-hit areas and undertake an aerial survey on Tuesday, accompanied by APCC president Bocha Satyanarayana, and Ministers N. Raghuveera Reddy (Revenue), P. Sudarshan Reddy (Major Irrigation) and D. Sridhar Babu (Civil Supplies).

The Chief Minister addressed letters to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to depute a Central team to assess the damage and grant assistance, and to the Union Textile Ministry to ask the Cotton Corporation of India to buy damaged cotton.

Briefing reporters later, Mr. Raghuveera Reddy said ex gratia would be paid at the enhanced rate of Rs. 1.5 lakh each to families of the persons who died in the floods. Collectors were empowered to undertake construction of houses for the affected under Indira Awas Yojna. They have been asked to take up repairs to damaged tanks by sanctioning works up to Rs. 10 lakh.