Members of a rescue team wade through a water-logged area past a submerged temple during heavy rains on the outskirts of Kochi in the southern state of Kerala, on August 8, 2019. Image Credit: REUTERS

At least 16 dead in flood-hit Maharashtra

At least 16 people have been killed, including four in Kolhapur and 12 in Sangli, as rains wreaked havoc in these districts for the past over one week, Chief Minister Scores Devendra Fadnavis said here on Thursday.

Along with his cabinet colleagues Chandrakanat Patil, Girish Mahajan and Eknath Shinde, Fadnavis today made an aerial survey of the flood-ravaged areas which also include Satara and Pune districts.

While four deaths are recorded in Kolhapur due to the rains in the past few days, at least 12 persons on Thursday drowned when a rescue boat capsized in Brahamnal village this morning. Fifteen people were saved and a search is on to trace bodies of others still missing, said Konkan Divisional Commissioner Deepak Mhaiskar.

Earlier in the day, authorities put out the death toll as 26.

Fadnavis said as per preliminary information, the boat was deployed by the village panchayat to rescue people, but a branch of a submerged tree got entangle in its engine, causing it to lose balance, leading to the tragedy.

He said rescue efforts were continuing on a war footing. Fadnavis said over 10,000 rescue officials from 13 teams of NDRF from Punjab, Gujarat, Odisha, Goa, one State DRF, one column of Indian Army, 14 Navy teams, Coast Guard team and Air Force and local agencies are engaged in rescuing people trapped in the flood waters in the two districts.

Another two Coast Guard teams are on their way to Kolhapur today, five Navy teams and two SDRF teams, while the state has sought five more NDRF teams, Fadnavis said.

"We are reaching out to the people. They should not panic. Wherever helicopters can go, they are being sent and more than 60 boats are deployed in all the affected regions," Fadnavis said.

The CM said rescue works are hampered as water levels are not receding in most areas, he told mediapersons after the aerial survey.

"I spoke with Home Minister Amit Shah and also Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa, and the latter has agreed to release 500,000 cusecs water from the Almatty Dam which will bring relief to waterlogging in Sangli," Fadnavis said.

He said as per available information, 223 villages are still flooded and 18 villages are completely submerged in the affected areas.

Plus, another around 29,000 people are still marooned in different parts, 9,000 have been rescued so far, and another 97,000 moved out on their own to rescue camps. Around 38,000 flood victims have taken refuge in 152 relief camps set up by the government.

Flood-affected people are evacuated
Flood-affected people are evacuated to a safer place after heavy rains in Kolhapur in the western state of Maharashtra, on August 8, 2019. Image Credit: REUTERS

Around 3,900 homes have been damaged or destroyed, over 200,000 people are still without electricity and 390 water supply schemes are shut due to flood, and 67,000 hectares of farmlands have been ravaged, though the complete extent of the damage will be known only after the flood waters recede, he said.

Efforts are also being made to supply petrol-diesel in the affected areas, and if the national highways re-open by Friday, the work will be taken up in consultation with the oil marketing companies.

So far, over 1.35 lakh people have been rescued and shifted to safer locations in the affected regions and thousands more continued to remain marooned without food, drinking water, medicines, electricity, and other essentials.

People were also saved from several government and private hospitals where they were trapped due to water all around.

Fadnavis said medical teams are kept ready in Mumbai and will be dispatched to the affected areas as demanded by the local authorities as incessant rains have submerged large areas of land, fields, villages, towns and cities, hitting both road and rail traffic badly.

Efforts are on to clear the Pune-Bengaluru Highway to enable quicker movement of relief supplies to the regions, he added.

43,000 people evacuated so far

Nearly 43,000 people have so far been evacuated from flood-hit and rain-affected areas of Karnataka, where the rain fury has left nine people dead, authorities said on Thursday.

The worst-hit was Belagavi district, where six persons have lost their lives, while 40,180 people have been evacuated.

Two persons lost their lives in rain-related incidents in Uttara Kannada district, from where 3,088 people have been evacuated till date, and one in Shivamogga, according to official figures.

Nearly 17,000 people are taking shelter in relief camps.

Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa is currently camping in Belagavi supervising relief and rescue operations.

On Thursday, he visited rain-affected Shivajinagar and Gandhinagar areas of Belagavi.

Flood Karnataka 20190808
A man carries an elderly woman to a safe location from a flood-affected area due to overflow of a water channel following heavy monsoon rain, in Hubballi district, Thursday, Aug 8, 2019. Image Credit: PTI

"Releases from reservoirs are well coordinated and as per protocol to prevent inundation of downstream areas. The villages likely to be affected due to heavy discharge have been identified and necessary precautions taken", an official statement said.

An aerial view of the flood-affected districts of north Karnataka
An aerial view of the flood-affected districts of north Karnataka, in Bengaluru, Monday, Aug 05, 2019.CM BS Yediyurappa to undertake aerial survey9. Image Credit: PTI

A total of 43,858 people from affected districts in northern, coastal and Malnad regions have so far been evacuated by joint rescue teams comprising Fire and Emergency department, State Disaster Response Force, National Disaster Response Force and Army, official sources said.

District administrations are on high alert and are prepared to tackle any emergency arising out of heavy discharge from reservoirs, the statement said.

"The flood situation is under control", it said.

8 killed, over 3,000 evacuated as rains batter Kerala

Eight people, including a one-year-old child, were killed and over 3,000 evacuated to over 60 relief camps after rains battered several parts of Kerala, officials said here on Thursday.

State Revenue Minister E. Chandrashekeran said Malappuram, Kozhikode, Kannur, Wayanad, Kasargode and Idukki districts were the worst affected areas.

Flood water rushes from under the Kovilkadav Bridge, in Munnar,
Flood water rushes from under the Kovilkadav Bridge, in Munnar, Kerala, on August 8, 2019. Image Credit: PTI

"Three NDRF (National Disaster Response Force) teams have been deployed in Malappuram, Wayanad and Idukki. We have requested 10 more teams," he said.

Meanwhile, the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has predicted heavy rains in the state till August 14. Red alerts have been issued in Idukki, Malappuram, Wayanad and Kozhikode districts.

In the morning, a 50-year-old woman died after a tree fell over her house at Attapady in the Palakkad district. A 24-year-old woman died after her house at Panamaram village in the Wayanad district got flooded.

Residents of the Wayanad district said such heavy rains had never been witnessed, even during last year's floods.

Over 700 people were evacuated in the Nilambur area of the Malappuram district. A.P. Sunil, a police officer, said some people had refused to leave their houses. "If they don't shift on their own, they will be forced to leave," he said.

Kozhikode District Collector Sambhasiva Rao said situation was under control. "If people cooperate, rescue becomes easy. But we are ready for any eventualities," said Rao.

Barring the state capital district and neighbouring Kollam, the remaining 12 districts have been affected by rains.

Fishermen have been asked not to venture out because winds were blowing at 40-50 km per hour.

University examinations in all the affected districts have been postponed.

Meanwhile, the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has predicted heavy rains in the state till August 14. Red alerts have been issued for the day at Idukki, Malappuram, Wayanad and Kozhikode districts.

Barring the state capital district and neighbouring Kollam, the remaining 12 districts have been affected by the rains.

Fishermen have also been warned not to visit the beaches because of the winds blowing at the speed of 40-50 km per hour.

Traffic on the Kannur-Kozhikode national highway and Kottayam-Kumili route have been badly affected.

Inbound tourists to Idukki district have been warned not to come till August 15 as the hilly district have been witnessing landslides at a few places.

Warning signal raised in Srikakulam district

The third warning signal has been raised in Srikakulam district as the flood level at Gotta Barrage on River Vamsadhara crossed 1.11 lakh cusecs on Thursday morning.

The second warning signal was continuing at Thotapalli Barrage on River Nagavali with an inflow of 43,479 cusecs.

Heavy downpour in the upper catchment area in Odisha is resulting in copious inflows into Vamsadhara and Nagavali rivers, the AP State Disaster Management Authority said.

At Kasinagar in Odisha, Vamsadhara was flowing at the danger level but has been steady at Gotta Barrage.

A 60-member team of NDRF and 35-member SDRF and 60 personnel of Fire Services Department have been deployed in Srikakulam district for rescue and relief operation in view of the flood situation.

Another team of SDRF personnel has been kept on standby at the AP Special Police Battalion at Chintavalasa in neighbouring Vizianagaram district to attend to any emergency.

About 13 boats have also been deployed in Srikakulam to evacuate people to safety in case of need.