Special Correspondent

Torrential rain in north Telangana; traffic dislocated on Highway

HYDERABAD: A rising Godavari flooded hundreds of villages in Khammam, East and West Godavari, Warangal, Karimnagar and Adilabad districts on Saturday as the skies opened over north Telangana after causing havoc in north coastal Andhra.

Several big villages alongside the Godavari in the Bhadrachalam division were completely inundated as the river rose menacingly throughout Friday night and on Saturday. Two IAF helicopters requisitioned from Bangalore and 12 motor launches were deployed to despatch food and relief material to 123 villages that were either inundated or marooned and 200 other partially-affected habitations in Khammam district. Some 53,000 people were shifted to 120 relief camps.

The level in the Godavari touched 62 feet, nine feet above the danger mark, at Bhadrachalam by 5 p.m. The Central Water Commission has forecast that it would rise further by 1.5 feet before receding on Sunday. Kunavaram, with a population of about 5000, was under a sheet of water.

Trapped on rooftops

Hundreds of people were trapped on roof-tops of their buildings until the motorboats reached them on Saturday morning. A high-level bridge across the Sabari linking Kunavaram village and Vararamachandrapuram was submerged.

The floods caused extensive dislocation in road communication. Traffic on the busy Vijayawada-Hyderabad highway was disrupted as water overflowed the National Highway at Ithavaram near Nandiagama. The Godavari flowed 10 ft above Rayapatnam bridge, cutting off Karimnagar from Adilabad. A swollen Vankidi encircled Mancherial town while traffic on Nagpur-Hyderabad National Highway 7 came to a halt.

Meanwhile, Srikakulam, Vizianagaram and Visakhapatnam districts, limped back to normal with the affected families leaving relief camps. Nagavali and Vamsadhara that encircled Srikakualm town began to recede.

However, monsoon continues to be vigorous and further heavy rains are forecast for north Telangana for the next 24 hours.

The toll mounted to 56 in 11 affected districts, including three in Hyderabad, but it may go up further. A jeep with 12 occupants was reportedly washed away in a swollen stream in Araku Valley.