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Floods bring AP to its knees, death toll climbs to 31, people stranded and highways closed

Several trains were cancelled or diverted while hundreds of vehicles were stranded on Sunday as the main road and rail routes in Andhra Pradesh remained cut off due to floods.

Floods bring AP to its knees, death toll climbs to 31, people stranded and highways closed
Incessant rains causes heavy floods in Andhra Pradesh

Toll in rain-related incidents in different districts of Andhra Pradesh touched 31 as more bodies were retrieved from the flooded streams.

The Chennai-Kolkata National Highway-16 remained cut off for traffic between Nellore and Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh as was the Chennai grand trunk rail route severing the all important link between the southern and eastern and northern parts of the country.

The South Central Railway informed that more than a 100 express trains were cancelled because of the damage caused to the rail track at Padugupadu near Nellore and 29 more diverted via other routes.

In Kadapa district alone, at least 18 people were dead, crops on hundreds of acres destroyed, heads of cattle washed away and tens of houses in villages were reduced to rubble as flash floods due to a breach of the Annamayya project's earthen bund on Cheyyeru river caused havoc. In Kadapa city, a mother and child, who were trapped on the second floor of a building were rescued in the nick of time by police and fire services personnel, just before the three-storied building folded like a pack of cards in the wee hours. Floodwater gushing out from the Veligallu reservoir led to the collapse of a bridge on river Papagni cutting off road link between Kadapa and Anantapuramu districts.

As floods caused devastation, the Chennai-Kolkata National Highway-16 had to be closed down for traffic in SPS Nellore district following a heavy breach at Padugupadu.

The State Disaster Management Authority said more than two lakh cusecs of floodwater flowed out of the Somasila reservoir in SPS Nellore district, leading to the deluge.

This caused breach of the National Highway-16 at Kovuru as well.

Consequently, traffic on the NH-16 between Nellore and Vijayawada has been suspended, leaving hundreds of vehicles stranded for kilometers on either side.

Hundreds of passengers were stuck in the Nellore RTC bus station as bus services were disrupted.

Vehicular traffic coming from Srikalahasti has been stopped at Tottembedu check post and diverted via Pamuru and Darsi, officials said.

Togurupeta, Mandapalli, Pulapathur and Gundlur presented a picture of haunted villages in the wake of the devastation due to the breach vis-a-vis the Annamayya project's earthen bund.

Annamayya is a medium irrigation project with a gross capacity of only 2.24 tmc ft on Cheyyeru, a tributary of Penna river, in Rajampet constituency. It caters to an ayacut of 22,500 acres, besides fulfilling the drinking water needs of 140 habitations.

The Pincha project upstream breached, letting out all floodwater into Annamayya while water from Seshachalam too came gushing in because of very heavy rainfall, resulting in an overall discharge of over two lakh cusecs.

That pushed Cheyyeru river into spate, inundating at least 10 villages downstream in Rajampet and Nandaluru mandals, and leaving widespread destruction in its wake.

It was nothing but gross mismanagement on the part of the administration. Didn't they know about the flood when there was such heavy rain? Why were we not even alerted about the coming danger before it destroyed us? angry villagers of Mandapalli and Togurupeta questioned.

Except for some kind-hearted volunteers, the administration did not come to their help in any way, they lamented.

Ours is the first village right under Annamayya project. We lost our houses, cattle, belongings everything. Some of our villagers were killed. There is no place for us to go, the surviving residents of Togurupeta, a hamlet of about 500 people, said.

The temple of the local goddess, which somehow remained intact, has now turned into the only shelter zone for the hapless villagers.

Mandapalli presented a heartrending sight. Two families were completely wiped out as seven people in all were killed in the flood fury. Another family lost two persons.

Kadapa district Collector Vijaya Rama Raju told PTI that the dam breach was the major factor that caused such a major calamity.

The river course changed but the dam breach was what caused the real destruction. We still moved some 600 people to safety, he said.

Yes, it was a major calamity, the scale of which could not be imagined, Raju added

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