Embankments of the Krishna and its numerous canals criss-crossing the delta in Guntur and Krishna districts have begun breaching at several places as there was no let up in the outflow of water from the Prakasam Barrage in Vijayawada on Tuesday.

One embankment gave way near Repalle town in Guntur in the wee hours. The surging water soon entered at least five villages downstream. Officials evacuated people from these villages before any lives were lost and are persuading those in other villages to leave to safer places. Irrigation and revenue officials are planning ways to prevent water from entering Repalle town.

Meanwhile, contrary to the assurances given by Chief Minister K. Rosaiah and irrigation officials that the outflow from the Prakasam Barrage would come down to 9 lakh cusecus on Monday by regulating the releases at Nagarjunasagar, the discharge remained at a high of 10.8 lakh cusecs till Tuesday noon. Officials are now attributing this heavy inflow to the water released 24 hours ago, the time taken for the water to flow from Nagarjunsasgar to the Prakasam Barrage.

People in the Diviseema area of Krishna district, especially in Hamsaladeevi village, lying in the estuary, are living in the grip of fear. This village lies about seven km from the Bay of Bengal and any breach of the river embankments, already being pounded by the enormous quantity of water, would spell disaster.

So far, two breaches have occurred -- one to the KEB canal inundating three to four villages and another near Edurumundi village which has submerged 12 villages.

PTI report adds

The Krishna river flood embankment breached at Oleru village in Pallepalem today.

The Irrigation Department rushed to close the 20-metre breach point, however, after struggling for two hours, they expressed their inability to accomplish the job till the flood recedes, officials said.

Industries Minister K Lakshminarayana and Technical Education Minister M V Ramana Rao directed the police to use force if necessary to shift the villagers to safer places.

The breach caused due to the release of 11.2 lakh cusecs of water from the Prakasam barrage (near Vijayawada) down the stream and also due to farmers inserting cement pipes in the flood bank for drawing water to irrigate their lands, officials said.

As many as 70 villages in 15 taluks along the river course were inundated by the floods in Guntur district. The most hit were Bhattiprolu, Repalle, Kollur and Kollipara taluks.

The ancient Amaralingeswara Swamy temple in Amaravathi town continues to be encircled by water. Low lying areas in the town are waterlogged. The Amaravathi-Guntur road has breached disrupting traffic. Madduru village is marooned.