Nearly one lakh people were shifted to safer places due to the Godavari floods, which are said to be the highest in the last 45 years.
An equal number of people were taking shelter atop high-rise buildings, terraces and on hilltops along with their families for the past six days, according to officials.
In all, 385 villages have been affected due to the floods while floodwaters have entered into a further 291 habitations. Food and shelter was being provided to 85,000 people at nearly 200 rehabilitation centres, AP State Disaster Management Authority (APSDMA) Managing Director B.R. Ambedkar said.
“We request residents of Badava, Elamamchili Lanka, Kanakaya Lanka, Pucha Lanka, Narsapuram, Anagarla Lanka, Kotha Lanka and 30 other island villages to shift to the relief camps. Officials have shifted many victims to the camps. But some residents are reluctant to come to the centres fearing theft,” said West Godavari Collector P. Prasanthi.
A majority of the residents want to stay put at apartments of their relatives. Locals are being requested to help out the flood-affected people with cooked food, milk, drinking water, bread, biscuits and ration, the Collector said.
Eluru Collector V. Prasanna Venkatesh said that many tribal families who have taken refuge atop hills have sought supply of essential commodities, medicines, tarpaulins, cooking gas and drinking water.
Air-dropping of food
“We are supplying essentials through boats and food packets are being air-dropped through Indian Navy helicopters,” Mr. Venkatesh said.
“All habitations in Velerupadu and Kukunur mandals are severely affected by the floods. Twelve villages are completely cut off from the mainland. We have been air-dropping food with the help of two helicopters for the past five days,” said Special Officer Katamneni Bhaskar.
“Due to heavy rains that have occurred in the last few hours, the water level is expected to rise further in the tribal villages. But there is no immediate threat and officials have been instructed to keep a close watch on the situation. The NDRF, SDRF, Civil Defence and officers deployed on flood duty will stay in the affected villages till the floodwater recedes,” the Special Officer said.
Mr. Venkatesh explained that groceries, drinking water, chlorine packets, bread, biscuits and other essentials were stocked up in depots in the Agency habitations and that there was no shortage of cooking gas.
The Special Officer said that efforts are being made to restore power supply in the tribal habitations once the flood recedes. Restoration work is likely to begin soon, he said, adding that there was no loss of human life and no bridges were damaged due to floods.
“All 255 pregnant women, who were to be admitted for childbirth in July, were shifted to Jangareddygudem and nearby dispensaries and instructions have been given to supply medicines to all the patients in the flood-hit villages,” Mr. Bhaskar said.
The flood level at Bhadrachalam was recorded at 56.20 feet and the third warning is in force. From the Polavaram project, the Irrigation officials were discharging 17,82,002 cusecs into the sea as of Monday evening, the officials said.