India: Surat better, now AP faces flood fury

News and Press Release
Originally published
Thanks to a less outflow from the Ukai dam to the Tapi river, the flood situation eased a little in Surat, even as a fresh threat was looming large over Andhra Pradesh on Thursday with the Krishna river in spate.

In Surat, it may take a few days to ascertain the impact of the last four days of devastating floods. Gujarat minister Bhupendra Chudasma said, "It is difficult to give the exact number of deaths now. We have no official estimates." No surprise because even the flood control room had to be shifted thrice in the past three days.

Fears that the toll would be high were evident when people in Katargam were shocked to spot two bodies floating in the water. Others in Adajan Patia are living with bodies of their relatives for the last four days.

More disturbing reports were trickling in - about 2,800 people trapped in several apartments. With water level receding, people thronged shops to purchase essentials leading to chaos and skirmishes at many places.

Officer-on-special-duty S R Rao, famous for cleaning up the diamond city after the 1994 plague, said, "So far the water has receded from 60% of the city. We are trying to restore water and power supply."

A report from Rander said that a five-storey building collapsed next to the river bank and many people were believed to be trapped inside the rubble. "We have only 60% of our staff as the police force is also badly-affected," a senior police official said.

In Andhra Pradesh, collectors of Krishna and Guntur districts had been asked to evacuate people from low-lying areas amid fresh threat of flood, officials said.

Due to floods in Bheema, a tributary of Krishna river, over 5.5 lakh cusses of water were being released from Nagarjunasagar dam which will increase the water levels causing inundation of low-lying areas.