Floods brought by heavy rains and overflowing rivers across large swathes of western and southern states have killed at least 77 people since Wednesday and damaged rice, cotton and other crops worth crores of rupees, officials said on Thursday.
The worst affected state was Telangana, where 50 people were killed in rain-related incidents since Wednesday. Citing preliminary estimates, Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao said the state suffered losses to the tune of over Rs 5,000 crore in the heavy rains that led to flooding of several low-lying areas. He has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging him to release Rs 1,350 crore immediately for relief and rehabilitation work.
Authorities in Hyderabad declared a holiday on Thursday and asked residents to stay indoors. Daily life has been disrupted in Hyderabad as many parts of the city lost power in the flooding. Residents posted pictures on Twitter of floating cars, waterlogged homes, offices and streets.
Rao has announced Rs 5 lakh compensation each to the families of the deceased. For those whose houses were completely destroyed, new houses would be built and in case of partially damaged houses, financial assistance would be given for the repairs.
According to the Chief Minister's Office, crops in 7.35 lakh acres in the state were submerged. Even if there is 50% of damage to crops, the loss would be to the tune of Rs 2,000 crore, it said.
Rao directed officials to take up relief measures on a war footing, asking them to distribute rice, pulses and other essential commodities among people in affected areas.
Record rainfall in Maharashtra
In neighbouring Maharashtra, at least 27 people have died in rain-related incidents in Solapur, Sangli and Pune districts. Over 20,000 people were evacuated to safer places in these three districts. State capital Mumbai too witnessed water-logging in many areas after overnight rains on Thursday.
The districts in Western Maharashtra — Pune, Solapur, Sangli, Satara and Kolhapur — are witnessing heavy showers over the last two days. "Total 27 people have died due to rain-related incidents in Solapur, Sangli and Pune districts since Wednesday. 14 casualties are from Solapur district, nine from Sangli and four from Pune district," said an official from the Pune divisional commissioner's office.
A few districts in Maharashtra state received more than 100 mm rainfall in the last 24 hours and the state, including its capital Mumbai, is likely to receive heavy to very heavy rainfall on Thursday and Friday, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said in its daily forecast.
The rains have damaged rice paddies in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, while cotton, soybean and pulses were damaged in Maharashtra and Karnataka, traders said.
Torrential rains also caused flash floods in coastal and northern Karnataka, disrupting normal life, as low-lying areas were inundated and roads submerged due to overflowing rivers and tributaries.
"Incessant and widespread rains in coastal and northern regions of the state due to low pressure and strong surface winds wreaked havoc, as flash floods in towns and villages caused hardship to people in low-lying areas and on river banks," said a state Natural Disaster Management Authority official.
Bagalokote, Ballari, Belagavi, Bidar, Dharwad, Gadag, Haveri, Hubballi, Kalaburagi, Koppal, Raichur and Yadgir in the state's north and northwest regions were the worst affected.
With the southwest monsoon extending beyond September, excess rains and water-logging in agricultural fields damaged kharif crops before harvesting. About 5,000 people have been shifted to 36 relief camps in the affected districts from flood-hit villages in both the regions.
Telangana and Maharashtra have so far in October received 143% and 78% more rainfall than normal respectively, according to data compiled by IMD.
Heavy rains are expected over the ghat areas of Maharashtra, Konkan and south Gujarat during the next two days, it said. Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray asked the state administration, Army, Navy and Air Force to be on high alert.
(With inputs from agencies)