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Flood havoc down South

IN SPATE: National Highway 7, which connects Bangalore and Hyderabad, has vanished under the swollen Krishna near Beechupally in Mahbubnagar district on Saturday.   | Photo Credit: — PHOTO: P.V. SIVAKUMAR

Special Correspondents

Karnataka death toll 132; some respite in Andhra Pradesh

Landslip kills 21 near Karwar

Threat from Srisailam reservoir persists

Bangalore/Hyderabad: While floods began to recede in Andhra Pradesh, the incessant rain continued to take a heavy toll in Karnataka.

Torrential rain in Uttara Kannada district triggered a landslip at Kadwad village, near Karwar, killing 21 people on Friday night. With this, the death toll in the State rose to 132, following almost unabated rain in northern and coastal Karnataka over the past six days.

Though the official death toll in Andhra Pradesh was put at 33, a senior official said in Hyderabad: “The danger is not over since 29 villages in Kurnool district and some parts of Mahbubnagar are still marooned. The threat came mainly from the Srisailam reservoir, where the water level touched an unprecedented 896 ft., against the full reservoir level of 885 ft., as a massive 26 lakh cusecs began flowing in.”

Chief Minister K. Rosaiah requested his Karnataka counterpart B.S. Yeddyurappa to impound as much water as possible in the Alamatti and Narayanpur dams to prevent further misery to people in Andhra Pradesh. About 15 districts in both States, including Mahbubnagar, Krishna and Kurnool districts in Andhra Pradesh, have been severely affected.

But in Bangalore, Home Minister V.S. Acharya warned that the situation might worsen with more rain forecast for the next two days. He said: “We are in touch with the Centre for more IAF helicopters and naval boats to rescue the marooned. We will need more of them if the situation worsens in the coming hours.”

Access to flood-hit areas was difficult as the national highways and roads remained cut off.

According to information coming in from Karwar, residents of Kadwad noticed minor landslips on a 600-ft. hillock in the Madibag area on Friday afternoon itself. By evening, the occurrence intensified, sending boulders and mud hurtling down. Many victims were buried under 45 feet of mud. An eyewitness said the slide was stopped eventually by a railway track.

There was some relief in Andhra Pradesh though. Flood waters receded in Kurnool and the temple town of Mantralayam, which lay under 13 feet water till Friday.

Mr. Yeddyurappa made an unsuccessful attempt to land in a helicopter as scores of pilgrims from his State were stranded in Mantralayam. By afternoon, the backwaters of Srisailam submerged several areas in Mahbubnagar district. An immediate casualty was the Srisailam Right Bank Power House, which was flooded. There was anxiety along the Krishna as Guntur and Krishna districts came under threat from the rising waters. Relief centres were opened in both States and food packets were being distributed and airdropped.