FREEDOM PRESS BUREAU
Hyderabad, Oct 19: The death toll in heavy rains and flash floods in Hyderabad and other parts of Telangana rose to 70 while bodies of two more missing persons were found in the state capital on Monday.
Police said two bodies were found in A-Jubail colony in the worst-hit old city of Hyderabad as the flood waters receded after five days.
Both are suspected to have been washed away in flood waters at Mailardevpally following heavy rains on October 13.
Several colonies in Chandrayangutta, which were flooded after a lake breached on Saturday night, remained under water on Monday.
The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and the Disaster Response Force (DRF) of Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) continued rescue and relief operations in Hafiz Baba Nagar and surrounding areas, where the floods left a trail of destruction.
Municipal Administration and Urban Development Minister K. T. Rama Rao told reporters that the heavy rains and floods have so far claimed 70 lives including 33 in Hyderabad and the outskirts. Three people were missing.
He said with the Meteorological Department predicting more heavy rains for the next three days, the administration was on alert.
The minister said as 80 colonies under GHMC limits were still inundated and more rains expected, the GHMC suspended all other operations and services for 15 days to focus only on evacuation of people.
The state government has alerted the Army while helicopters are also being kept ready for rescue and relief works.
As the GHMC has only 18 boats for evacuation, the state government is making arrangements for another 30 boats from neighbouring Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. As many as 80 special officers have been deployed in GHMC and neighbouring municipalities for taking up rescue and relief measures.
KTR, as the minister is popularly known, appealed to all residents in low lying areas to shift to relief camps. “Don’t put your lives into risk by moving to first or second floors. Cooperate with the authorities and move out of the inundated or low-lying areas,” he said, adding that the government can provide food and other essentials to people only if they shift to relief camps.
The authorities have so far evacuated 37,000 people from inundated and low-lying areas.
KTR said Hyderabad has recorded 120 cm rainfall this year so far against the regular average annual rainfall of 78 cm.
Pointing out that the highest rainfall of 142 cm in a year was recorded in 1916, the minister said since two more months are left, this year the average rainfall may be the highest in the city’s history.
The government has so far spent Rs 60 crore on rescue and relief measures in flood-hit areas. This includes Rs 45 crore spent by GHMC on food supply, relief camps and ex gratia payments.
There are proposals to spend another Rs.670 crore for repairing damaged roads, storm water drains, tanks, lake strengthening and restoration of other infrastructure.
The state government last week said the state suffered a loss of Rs 5,000 crore due to rains and floods and sought Rs 1,350 crore as immediate assistance. The minister said the Centre had not yet responded to the state’s request.