Rain batters south India: AP worst hit, stranded citizens in TN rescued using boats

View of a waterlogged area following incessant rainfall in Tirupati, Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021. Photo: PTI

Chennai/Amaravati/Pathanamthitta: Parts of southern states continued to witness monsoon fury on Saturday, with Andhra Pradesh bearing the brunt with loss of life and persons going missing in rain-related incidents.

While rains receded in Kerala's Sabarimala, where the Pathanamthitta district administration removed an earlier ban on pilgrimage to the holy shrine imposed due to the downpour, parts of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry continued to suffer from inundation and sharp showers.

25 killed, several washed away in AP

In Andhra Pradesh, at least 25 people were killed and 17 others were reported missing in rain-related incidents in Kadapa and Anantapuramu districts since Friday. A member of the State Disaster Response Force, was among the deceased.

More than 30 people were washed away from three villages along the Cheyyeru river course, where water from the Annamayya medium irrigation project gushed in.

A view of the KRP dam as excess water being released from the dam after heavy rains, in Krishnagiri district, Saturday, November 20, 2021. Photo: PTI

While the situation in Tirupati town still remained grim, with many areas inundated, the scene on the holy Tirumala Hills was relatively better, though pouring rain did inconvenience pilgrims.

The Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams, which manages the hill shrine, reopened the ghat roads for vehicular traffic, though the two stairways meant for pilgrims to trek the Hills remained closed. Pilgrims who booked tickets online were being allowed for darshan of Lord Venkateswara.

In Kadiri town in Anantapuramu district, a building under construction collapsed due to incessant rain and fell on an adjoining one, killing at least five persons, including two children.

Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy conducted an aerial survey in Kadapa, Anantapuramu and Chittoor districts to assess the damage.

SPS Nellore district is also bearing the brunt as a record flood in Pennar river left many villages marooned on Saturday. Thousands of people have been shifted to relief camps in the district from the flood-hit areas, official sources said.

Teams of NDRF and SDRF have been deployed in the districts for rescue and relief operations.

Aerial view of flood-affected areas in Chittoor and Kadapa districts of Andhra Pradesh, following incessant rain, on Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021. Photo: PTI

TN rivers in spate

In Tamil Nadu, parts of Villupuram and Cuddalore districts suffered inundation after the Thenpennai river was in spate.

Around 15,000 people from the two districts have been lodged in relief camps while 18,500 hectares of farm lands were subrmerged in Villupuram due to the overflowing Thenpennai river.

"In the last 24 hours, three people have been killed in Krishnagiri and Tiruvannamalai districts," Minister for Revenue and Disaster Management, KKSSR Ramchandran said, adding 368 heads of cattle had also perished.

While 65,000 cusecs of water was being released from Mettur Dam, which caters to the Cauvery delta districts, the quantum at Poondi, one of the reservoirs meeting Chennai's drinking water needs, was 29,684 cusecs, he said.

Fire and Rescue Services personnel evacuated stranded people in wtaer-logged areas in Cuddalore, Villupuram and Ranipet districts using boats.

Over 1,900 such affected persons in the three districts, besides Kancheepuram, Kallakurichi, Chengalpet and Vellore have been rescued in the past two days, officials said.

With the Kosasthalai river in Tiruvallur overflowing and leading to flooding in Manali near Chennai, Chief Minister M K Stalin visited the affected areas and directed officials concerned to expedite relief work.

In Kerala, though heavy rains lashed several parts of Pathanamthitta district, posing a threat to Sabarimala pilgrimage last night, devotees were permitted to trek the holy hills again in batches on Saturday.

Two shutters of the Pamba dam were raised by the authorities after its water level rose.

Temple authorities here said on Saturday that as no major rains were reported, especially in the areas of the hill temple, normalcy returned to Sabarimala by Saturday.

District Collector Divya S Iyer granted permission to allow the devotees stranded in Nilackal, following last night's prohibition order, to trek to Sabarimala hills and offer prayers at the shrine in a phased manner ensuring their safety.

Authorities urged those living on the river banks, Sabarimala devotees and the general public to take necessary precaution in the wake of the opening of two shutters of the Pamba dam.

The Puducherry union territory was pounded by heavy rains after a respite on Friday.

Chief Minister N Rangasamy said the government was seeking interim relief from the Centre, but did not elaborate on the quantum of relief.

The UT had registered around 16 cm rainfall on Saturday, official sources said.

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