Andhra rains claim 53 lives, damage crops in 11 lakh hectares

Hyderabad, Oct 28 (IANS) Heavy rains that lashed Andhra Pradesh for six days have claimed 53 lives and damaged crops over 11 lakh hectares, officials said.

According to preliminary estimates by the officials, the loss in 16 districts was Rs.3,756 crore.

Rains have receded, barring in parts of north coastal Andhra where rivers were still in spate and low-lying areas remained inundated.

Officials said the relief work was in full swing in the districts hit by the incessant rains under the impact of low pressure area and vigorous northeast monsoon.

The rains affected 5,196 villages in 16 districts. The officials reported 11 more deaths Monday, taking the toll to 53.

Guntur and Prakasam districts accounted for eight deaths each. Seven people died in Nalgonda and six in Mahabubnagar.

Over 220,000 people were evacuated from low-lying areas. The authorities opened 384 relief camps.

Over 42,000 houses were damaged in the rains and floods. Crop over 11.37 lakh hectares were damaged. They include cotton over 5.97 lakh hectares cotton and paddy over 4.72 lakh hectares. Other crops like maize, groundnut, redgram, sugarcane, tobacco and blackgram were also damaged.

Nineteen teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams were engaged in rescue and relief work. Eight teams of the Navy were also deployed in affected villages of Visakhapatnam district.

According to disaster management department, 1,409 minor irrigation tanks breached while 4,707 kilometres of roads were damaged.

Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy Monday visited some flood-hit areas of Prakasam and Guntur districts in south coastal Andhra.

He reviewed the situation over phone with the chief secretary and other top officials. He directed them to speed up the relief and rehabilitation measures.

The chief minister assured all help to farmers who lost the crops. He also announced that for those who lost their houses, the government would sanction new houses.

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