A slight respite in the floods in Mahabubnagar and Kurnool districts of Andhra Pradesh on Saturday and the intensification of rescue and relief operations have brought back some confidence to the people.

Water has receded from some parts of Kurnool, a city with a population of nearly six lakh which faced the grim prospect of submersion on Friday evening, while the temple town of Mantralayam seemed to get some relief as the level of water in the raging Tungabhadra fell. The town is not yet out of the woods as fresh flooding is feared.

However, the situation in the massive Srisailam dam remained a cause of concern as the level in the reservoir stood at an unprecedented 896 feet against its full level of 885 feet.

The Hindu correspondent, now in Srisailam, quoted dam engineers that the inflow had come down from 22 lakh cusecs to 15 lakh cusecs. Simultaneously, the outflow had increased by one lakh cusecs to 15 lakh cusecs after engineers opened the 12th crest gates, which was not operated so far.

However, the opening of this crest gate resulted in severe damage to the road bridge across the Krishna River and cut off the road link from Srisailam to Hyderabad. Hyderabad remained cut off from Kurnool as the Krishna River was flowing over the National Highway 7.

Giving details about the latest situation in the flood affected Mahbubnagar, Kurnool, Krishna and Guntur districts on Saturday morning, Chief Minister K. Rosaaiah said he had requested his Karnataka counterpart to hold the Krishna water in their upstream projects to the extent possible to give some respite to the worst affected Kurnool and other two districts. Mr. B.S. Yeddyurappa, he said, responded sympathetically to his suggestion.

The Chief Minister said the crisis was not yet over and the government was fully alert to the situation and was expediting the evacuation of people from the worst affected areas in Mahbubnaar, Kurnool and Krishna districts. Asked about the death toll, he said that enumeration of missing persons was not done yet. “We have no news about casualties so far,” he said.

Meanwhile, the rescue and relief operations have commenced from day break on Saturday. Disaster Management Commissioner Dinesh Kumar said the National Disaster Response Force manpower and boats reached the districts. As many as 15 helicopters were pressed into service including those from the Eastern Naval Command. Two lakh food packets and two lakh water sachets were ready to be airdropped.

Mr. Kumar said about 2,000 people in 84 worst affected villages in Izah, and Vaddepally mandals beside the Gadwal division would have to be rescued. In Kurnool district, Atmakur, Mantralayam, Kurnool, Kotalam, Nandanavanam and Sibenegal were affected most.

About 550 Army men had reached Kurnool, Mahabubnagar and Vijayawada, and launched rescue and relief operations in full swing. So far, about 95 flood relief camps had been opened. In Kurnool alone, one lakh people have been shifted to safety and 45,000 have been put up in 43 camps. However, 3,970 people are stranded in different villages in the district.

In Krishna district, out of 1.5 lakh people proposed to be evacuated, 50,000 were already shifted to safer places in anticipation of floods caused by the release of massive quantities of water from the Nagarjunasagar dam upstream.