Special Correspondent

Situation alarming in East Godavari; death toll rises to 100

HYDERABAD: An estimated three lakh people in the Godavari delta were surrounded by swirling waters on Monday as the mighty river and its seven distributaries flowed into hundreds of villages and island habitations.

Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy sought the Army's help and briefed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh about the alarming situation before setting out on an aerial survey of Konaseema region in East Godavari. The Eastern Naval Command in Visakhapatnam has been alerted even as six helicopters carried out numerous sorties to provide relief in flood-hit areas. The death toll rose to 100.

Even as complaints about lack of assistance poured in, nearly three lakh people are given shelter in 200 relief camps. While the levels in the Godavari receded slightly (67 ft to 64 ft) at Bhadrachalam, the situation turned precarious as several of its tributaries were in spate. Gauthami and Vasista breached at two places flooding 160 villages and 50 island habitations. Parts of Polavaram, Narsapur and Mummidivaram towns were under waist-deep water.

In Bhadrachalam division, scores of villages remained marooned for the second day on Monday. Several parts of Adilabad remained inundated as the Penganga, facing its worst floods since 1962, severed key road links. The situation might worsen as huge quantities of water are being released from projects in Maharashtra.

Central Water Commission engineers said the Godavari might rise further as a heavy flood of 5 lakh cusecs from Maharashtra and Sriramsagar was on its way. The river flowed above danger level throughout its course from Kaleswaram to Dhawaleswaram.

In West Godavari district, Nakkavagu and Kovvadakalva streams breached at Yellamanchili and Pragdapalli submerging scores of villages. An embankment at Achanta was reported to be verge of bursting. A round-the-cock vigil is being kept over the 40-km bund on the main river at Polavaram in view of its vulnerability.