Hyderabad rain flood
People are seen in a flooded residential area after heavy rainfall in Hyderabad, the capital of the southern state of Telangana, India, October 14, 2020. Image Credit: Reuters

Hyderabad: Record rains and heavy flooding in the southern Indian state of Telangana collapsed houses and killed at least 20 people, police said Wednesday.

Four other people were injured in Hyderabad, the state’s capital, when a house’s boundary wall fell on a neighbouring house, which collapsed with the impact, police officer Gaja Bhopal Rao said.

The first house to collapse in Hyderabad was in a hilly area of the city where the soil was loosened by more than 25 centimeters of rain in the past 24 hours, said Police Commissioner Anjani Kumar. That left eight people dead.

Five other people were killed in two other house collapses in the city, Kumar said. Two other people were swept away by flood waters elsewhere in the state. The rain washed away part of the highway linking the city to the airport. Thirty cars and trucks were washed away when a lake in the city overflowed, district administrator Amoy Kumar said.

The heavy rain in Hyderabad, caused by a deep depression in Bay of Bengal, broke a record set 20 years ago. It caused flooding in low lying areas of the city, where authorities used boats to evacuate people.

Stay at home

Member of Parliament Asaduddin Owaisi, after inspecting the scene of the house collapse and other affected areas, has urged the people to stay at home in view of the water logging and flooding.

“The rains this year have been unprecedented and I appeal to all of you to stay indoors”, he said.

NDRF flood Hyderabad
National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) personnel rescue people from floodwaters after heavy rainfall in Hyderabad, India, India, Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020. Image Credit: AP

In all 20 deaths were reported in rain related mishaps across Telangana and Andhra Pradesh during the past 24 hours.

Apart from Hyderabad, several other cities and districts including Visakhapatnam, Vijaywada in Andhra Pradesh and Warangal, Bhongir and Medchal have also recorded heavy rainfall.

This year has proved to be the wettest in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, especially for Hyderabad city.

Hyderabad, with a population of 10 million, has seen three spells of cloud burst in one month leaving the city flooded each time.

“Though rain has subsided in many areas, some time would be required to normalize the situation in many areas. DRF teams are working relentlessly to clearing the area and helping citizens,” said Viswaji Kampati, Director, Disaster Management, Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation.

Road cut off

The road linking Hyderabad city to the Shamshabad International Airport was cut off due to the flooding caused by a breach in the embankment of a lake. A large number of vehicles on National Highway No 44 were stranded after a part of the road was washed away. Officials have asked people going to the airport to take Outer Ring Road instead of the normal route. An orange alert was sounded by Telangana government after IMD warned of more rains over the next two days (Wednesday and Thursday) with isolated heavy rains over some places in Hyderabad.

The state government has declared a public holiday in Hyderabad for two days in view of the rain.

Reservoirs full

As a result of the unprecedented rains all the reservoirs of Hyderabad had reached the maximum level. The 100-year-old Himayat Sagar was filled to capacity and authorities opened two of its 17 gates releasing 330 cusecs of water into river Musi.

The river, which was reduced to a stagnant drain over many decades, was now in full flow at many points. People living along the river course have been asked to move to safer places.

Hussain Sagar tank in the middle of city had also reached maximum level and officials were keeping a close watch on the situation.

More than 9.6 million people across South Asia have been affected by severe floods this year, with hundreds of thousands struggling to get food and medicine.

About 550 people have died in India, Bangladesh and Nepal, while millions have been displaced from their homes since the flooding began in June.

- with inputs from AP