Hyderabad/Bangalore: The flood situation in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka showed signs of improvement with record-breaking water levels starting to recede on Saturday after three days of torrential rain. The death toll in the two neighbouring states due to the rain, caused by a deep depression in the Bay of Bengal, rose to 190.
While Karnataka has reported around 140 deaths, Andhra Pradesh has reported 50 deaths, according to officials.
Rescue and relief operations by army helicopters, boats and teams from the National Disaster Relief Force were continuing in the two states.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister K Rosaiah told reporters in Hyderabad that the floodwaters in the worst-hit Kurnool were slowly receding.
This came as a relief to the 500,000 people of Kurnool town, about 250 km from Hyderabad, that was threatened with complete submergence since Friday evening due to massive floods in the Krishna river and its tributaries.
However, the authorities in Krishna and Guntur districts remained on high alert in view of huge inflows reaching Prakasam Barrage near Vijayawada city.
In Karnataka too, floodwaters in the northern districts were receding and officials were confident of rescuing all marooned people by late Saturday.
"Almost all marooned people have been rescued. Over 150,000 people are taking shelter in 583 relief camps," H V Parashwanath, secretary of the Karnataka Disaster Management Authority, told IANS in Bangalore.
He said 139 people have lost their lives and 116,000 houses have been damaged, many of the fully. Nearly 3,000 cattle have also perished in the rain.
"More than 350 villages were affected by the rain and subsequent floods, the worst since 1972 in north Karnataka," Parashwanath said.
Eight helicopters, 40 boats and a 105-member team of the National Disaster Relief Force were taking part in the rescue and relief operations.
Over 20,000 food packets were airdropped for the marooned people, he said.
The affected districts are Bijapur, Bagalkot, Raichur, Bellary, Gulbarga, Koppal, Gadag, Bidar and Belgaum. The worst affected were Bijapur, Raichur and Bellary.
The water level at the Srisailam dam across the Krishna river in Andhra Pradesh was 10 feet above its full reservoir level of 885 feet but the declining levels in the Tungabhadra and Handri rivers provided some relief to Kurnool town.
Rosaiah said he had requested his Karnataka counterpart not to release water from Almatti and Narayanpur dams upstream unless it is inevitable.
Sixteen helicopters and 600 army personnel besides Disaster Management Response Force and state police had taken up rescue and relief operations. The chief minister said over 200,000 food and water sachets were being air dropped in the affected districts.
Boats and army personnel have also been pressed into service in Vijayawada city and several villages in Krishna district facing the danger of inundation due to heavy inflows into the Prakasam barrage.
Rescue workers found 16 bodies at a few places in Kurnool and Mahabubnagar. Commissioner, disaster management, Dinesh Kumar said eight deaths each were reported from Mahabubnagar and Kurnool districts. These deaths are in addition to 26 people reported dead till Friday.
Rosaiah announced compensation of Rs 100,000 to the kin of each of those killed in the floods. He also declared a compensation of Rs.4,000 for each house fully damaged and Rs 3,000 for severely damaged.
The worst floods in the region in 100 years have left a trail of destruction, rendering over 200,000 homeless in Kurnool, Mahabubnagar, Guntur and Krishna districts and damaging standing crops over a vast area.
Dinesh Kumar said over 300,000 people were evacuated from flood-hit areas. About 4,000 people in Kurnool district and 1,000 in Mahabubnagar district were stranded in flood waters.
About 89 villages on the banks of the Tungabhadra and Krishna rivers in Mahabubnagar district were affected by floods. The official said 134,000 people were evacuated to safer places in Mahabubnagar district and 105,000 in Kurnool district including 40,000 in Kurnool town.
About 15,000 people low-lying areas have been evacuated in Vijayawada town in Krishna district and about 100,000 more people who are likely to be affected will be evacuated by the evening. He said 58,000 people in 28 flood-prone villages in Krishna district were evacuated.
Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa undertook an aerial survey of the affected areas. He said the government would bear the cost of building partially or fully damaged houses.
Meteorological officials told IANS in Bangalore that while rain would abate in north Karnataka, coastal Karnataka districts of Dakshina Kannada and Uttara Kannada were receiving heavy rain.
Karwar, the main town of Uttara Kannada, Saturday received 43 cm rain and Kundapura, a major commercial hub in Dakshina Kannada 13 cm. "This is very heavy rainfall," the officials said adding it may continue over the next 48 hours till Monday afternoon.