Retreating monsoon claimed 12 more lives on Sunday as the death toll due to torrential rains and rampaging floods in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh soared to 205 even as relief operations were on in full swing in the two states to provide succour to the affected.
Karnataka, which reported all the 12 fresh deaths, accounted for 168 fatalities and neighbouring Andhra Pradesh, where the flood situation in Krishna district remained grim, 37, officials in the two states said.
After wreaking havoc, rains showed signs of let up in Karnataka even as Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa appealed to the Centre to declare the worst flooding in the state as a a national disaster.
He sought Rs 10,000 crore assistance for relief measures and rebuilding the 15 rain-ravaged districts.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister K Rosaiah conducted an aerial survey of the flood-battered areas and said the situation was alarming in Krishna and Guntur districts where many villages faced inundation.
Despite the devastation caused by the biggest-ever floods to Krishna and Tungabhadra rivers in the last three days, there were no huge human casualties in Kurnool, thanks to timely evacuation of lakhs of people to safer areas, Chief Minister K Rosaiah said in Hyderbad.
"It is humanly impossible to hold the nature's fury. All that we can do is to minimise the loss to human lives and destruction of properties. The officials at the state-level and district-level did a commendable job in the last three days in preventing huge loss to human lives so far and ensuring their safety" he said.
Rosaiah, while reviewing flood situation, rehabilitation and rescue works at a high-level meeting, said he had not come across such a huge flood in his long political career.
He pointed out that it was no mean task for the officials of the Irrigation Departement to manage floods of this magnitude, which was unprecedented in the history of the state.
The officials monitored the inflow and outflow of water in Srisailam and Nagarjunasagar reservoirs round the clock and ensured that the dam structures were safe, Rosaiah said.
"At one stage, the inflow into Srisailam reservoir had touched 25 lakh cusecs, but the officials quickly responded by letting out water by opening emergency flood gates brought the situation under control. At the same time, administrative machinery took every care in evacuating people of Kurnool to safer areas overnight" he pointed out.
The real challenge to our administration begins now. Our immediate concern is to rehabilitate the flood victims. We are chalking out a comprehensive action plan for helping people in the flood-affected districts. We are not going to rest till normalcy is restored and all the affected people are rehabilitated," he said.
The Chief Minister said the government would now focus on reconstruction works, repairing of damaged roads and restoration of power and communication facilities in the flood-hit areas. "There was an extensive damage to electrical installations and equipment of AP Transco and Discoms in Kurnool, Mahabubnagar and Krishna districts and all these have to be repaired and power restored in all areas," he said.
Rosaiah thanked all the political parties for their invaluable suggestions to the government during the all-party meeting to carry out relief and rehabilitation operations. He said he was writing letters to the presidents of the political parties, thanking them individually for their timely cooperation.
"I am extremely hopeful that they would continue to extend their whole-hearted cooperation to the government in the coming days in all its welfare and developmental programmes," he said. PTI