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Torrential rains lash Hyderabad; 19 dead

Telangana govt declares two days of holiday; another 10 killed in Andhra

Statesman News Service | Hyderabad |

At least 19 people were killed in Hyderabad and many more had to be evacuated as unprecedented rain, poor urban planning and encroachments on river and tank beds took a heavy toll on the Telangana capital.

The usually tame Musi river was in spate and flowed over the bridges and the Hussainsagar Lake overflowed the embankments and turned the streets into streams with cars, lorries, container vehicles and even people swept away in the gushing water.

Andhra Pradesh too experienced heavy rain which claimed ten lives in the state and caused extensive damage to crops, roads and uprooted electricity poles.

Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi spoke to the chief ministers of both Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. “Assured all possible support and assistance from the Centre in rescue and relief work. My thoughts are with those affected due to the heavy rains,” he tweeted.

After the deluge hit the city around yesterday night the Telangana government declared two days of holiday till Thursday and urged the residents against venturing out unless there was an emergency. Since midnight, personnel from army, NDRF and the civic body’s own disaster response force (DRF) used boats to evacuate scores of people who were marooned in their houses. People had a tough time with the streets flooded, power supply hit and telecom lines disrupted, leaving them without even drinking water. There were also reports of roads caving in at various locations such as Moosapet.

Areas like Begumpet and Somajiguda which are in the very heart of the city were completely flooded. Video footage showed water gushing out at Yashoda Hospital, Somajiguda, which is a key private hospital for treating Covid -19 patients.

Although the deep depression has started to move away, according to the weather forecasts there is more rain in store for the city in the next two days. Telangana which has witnessed unprecedented rain during past two months saw Hyderabad receiving 176.6 mm of rain on a single day when the normal is just 4.2mm. Many areas in the city recorded over 200 mm of rain in past 24 hours.

It rained heavily nonstop throughout the night and the first two of the 17 gates of Himayatsagar Lake were opened at midnight, releasing heavy inflows into river Musi. Out of 17 gates of the Himayatsagar lake 13 had to be opened due to the heavy rain. At Mohammadia Hills in Bandlaguda the wall of a private property collapsed on another structure killing 9 people including three children and injuring 2. Eight people of a family were washed away at Bandlaguda; two bodies were retrieved while six are still missing. At around 2 a.m, a breach in the embankment of a nearby tank Palle Cheruvu resulted into water entering the colonies and led to the mishap. Army personnel were deployed in this badly affected area to evacuate people. The NH 44 leading to Kurnool was cut off due to collapse of a lake embankment and traffic police advised against using PV Narasimha Rao Expressway. In Hayatnagar the NDRF rescued a lorry driver as his vehicle was swept away in the rushing water. The intensity of the rain in and around Hyderabad could be gauged from the fact that irrigation officials were forced to cause a deliberate breach on the embankment of Musi River project at neighbouring Suryapet as the gates were unable to discharge the inflows.

Meanwhile, critics have blamed the TRS government which claimed to have 60 per cent of its funds on infrastructure for failing to tackle encroachment and legalising illegal layouts on river and tank beds with its one time approval schemes for the disaster.