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Godavari recedes, no respite from floods

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PRAYING FOR MANNA: An aerial view of people waiting for food packets from Army helicopter at P. Gannavaram village, which was marooned, on Tuesday. Photo: S. Rambabu
PRAYING FOR MANNA: An aerial view of people waiting for food packets from Army helicopter at P. Gannavaram village, which was marooned, on Tuesday. Photo: S. Rambabu

Special Correspondent

High tide in Bay adds to flood fury; 350 Konaseema villages marooned

HYDERABAD: Even six days after the depression crossed the coast, there is no significant relief from the floods in three districts of Andhra Pradesh though the level in the Godavari fell throughout its 678-km-long course in the State.

This paradox is the result of a new phenomenon -- high tide in the Bay of Bengal due to the full moon on Wednesday. Some 25 to 30 lakh cusecs of water from Dowlaiswaram are not entering the sea as the tide is pushing it back into villages near two of the seven confluence points-- Mukteswaram and Kotipalli Revu.

On Tuesday, 350 villages, mostly in the Konaseema area of East Godavari, were marooned against 280 the previous day. "The situation is terrible. The area under submergence is increasing every hour due to the backwaters," said M. V. P. C. Sastry, senior IAS officer specially deputed to monitor flood relief works in the district.

In all, nearly 400 villages and island habitations in Khammam and East & West Godavari districts remain water-logged leaving an estimated four lakh people searching for water, food and shelter. In Khammam, major villages like Kunavaram, V. R. Puram, Chintur, Kukkunor and Burgampahad remained under water.

Two persons were washed away when two country boats carrying food capsized near Pedamallanka in East Godavari. In Razole and Inavelli, people were crying for help from top of their buildings. "We could not contact some 30 villages in the district, about 20 in Konaseema and other ten in the agency areas," said district Collector M. Subrahmanyam.

Even as the Government began attracting flak from political parties for tardy relief operations, a health crisis seems to be brewing with reports of viral fever and diarrhoea in several places. The toll touched 106, with six persons drowning in the flood waters. Disaster Management Commissioner Debabrata Kantha said 5,680 villages in 16 districts were directly or indirectly affected.

Six Indian Air Force helicopters joined the existing five choppers in relief operations following Chief Minister Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy's request to the Prime Minister. A pregnant woman and a sick girl were airlifted from a marooned village and shifted to the Government Hospital at Bhadrachalam. Ten naval boats from Visakhapatnam were pressed into service in East Godavari.

The Chief Minister told reporters here that the situation in the flood-hit areas was still quite alarming. He announced that UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil would visit the affected areas on Wednesday.

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