Nature's fury. Photo: Deepak Deshpande
Heavy rainfall across Telangana have killed at least 19 people so far even as thunderstorm accompanied by lightning occurred at isolated places across the state, including capital Hyderabad. The incessant rains since Tuesday led to the capital city reeling under severe waterlogging and inundation of some low-lying areas.
The Met department on Wednesday issued a yellow alert for Hyderabad, while the state government declared a holiday on Wednesday and Thursday for all private institutions, offices, non-essential services within Outer Ring Road in view of rains. It also advised people to stay indoor as far as possible.
The IMD said that the sub-cyclonic system or "deep depression" is likely to peter out in a day, but will regain in strength once it crosses the Maharashtra coast on October 16. Earlier in the day, it also said that the depression over western parts of Telangana would move northwestwards and weaken into a low pressure area in 12 hours.
Vanasthalipuram, Dammaiguda, Attapur Main Road, and Musheerabad were some of the areas of Hyderabad that faced severe waterlogging due to the overnight incessant rainfall. Many areas in central parts of Hyderabad like Begumpet, Ameerpet and Panjagutta also faced inundation.
As Hyderabad witnessed recorded unprecedented overnight rainfall, the GHMC authorities was forced to open the floodgates of the Himayat Sagar dam, which supplies water to Hyderabad, on Tuesday night, leading to many surrounding areas flooding.
The extent of the calamity that struck Hyderabad can be gauged by the fact that the city recorded its worst rainfall for the month of October in the last 100 years -- around 200 mm.
Government swings into action
Minister for Municipal Administration and Urban Development KT Rama Rao and Animal Husbandry Minister Talasani Srinivas Yadav held an emergency meeting with senior officials and reviewed the rescue and relief operations in the city. The GHMC Mayor, Deputy Mayor, MLAs, and other elected representatives and officials were ordered to be available in the field and continuously monitor and coordinate relief measures.
Rama Rao also directed the Hyderabad and Ranga Reddy district collectors to coordinate with the police and Municipal Administration and Urban Development (MAUD) department to shift people residing in low-lying areas and on the banks of Nalas and Musi rivers to relief shelters.
As several trees and electricity poles were uprooted due to the deluge, Rama Rao asked the Telangana State Southern Power Distribution Company Limited (TSSPDCL) officials to coordinate with MAUD and police to ensure power was restored at the earliest. Power supply was suspended in most parts of the state capital on Tuesday as a precaution.
An official release issued late on Tuesday night stated that Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao had directed that the administration in the districts should be on high alert, Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar also urged the district collectors to remain alert and strictly follow the flood protocol communicated earlier.
Politicians hit the ground
Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi, who has been monitoring the flood situation since the rains began to trouble the city, visited Bandlaguda and Karwan areas on Tuesday night to oversee the rescue efforts there.
Later on Wednesday, Rama Rao along with Deputy CM Mahmood Ali and Owaisi visited flood-hit localities of old city.
In the evening, MoS Home G Kishan Reddy visited the rain-affected areas and appealed to people to remain indoors for the next 1 to 2 days. "National Disaster Response Force and Army teams are conducting rescue operations," he added.
Meanwhile, the home minister, Amit Shah, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to the CM on Wednesday and assured all possible help to the state government.
With several low-lying areas inundated, rescue efforts were in full swing across the city.
While two more teams of the NDRF reached Hyderabad overnight to assist in relief measures in Hyderabad and elsewhere in Telangana, the Indian Army also entered the efforts later in the day.
The Army personnel launched flood relief and rescue columns in Bandlaguda area on a requisition from the state government, a Defence release said.
Many stranded people were evacuated and a large number of food packets were distributed. "Army Medical teams accompanying the columns are providing essential first aid and medical relief to the stranded people," the army said.
The NDRF said it evacuated more than 1,000 people from inundated areas in Hyderabad and Rangareddy districts. Four teams of NDRF was engaged in rescue operations.
"Today, NDRF teams have rescued 22 persons and evacuated 1,165 persons in Hyderabad and Rangareddy after the cities got flooded. Evacuation Operations are still continuing as a large number of citizens are trapped inside their houses and seeking help," it said.
The State Disaster Response and Fire Services Department also carried out rescue operations in the Toli Chowki area.
On Tuesday night, as many as 33 passengers of a state-run bus were rescued after the vehicle got stuck owing to water-logging on a road at Uppal within the city limits.
The human tragedy
Two more deaths were reported on Wednesday morning from Chandrayangutta area, hours after eight people, including a toddler, died in two wall collapse incidents there. A senior police official said huge boulders rolled down a hill and crashed into two houses at Chandrayangutta late Tuesday night.
Three members of a family, including a child, died in a house collapse in Gaganpahad area of Shamshabad on Wednesday morning, police said. Outside of the city, three people were killed as house collapses in Nagarkurnool district of Telangana.
A 40-year-old woman and her daughter died after the roof of their house collapsed at Ibrahimpatnam area on Tuesday. The woman and her 15-year-old daughter died on the spot, while her son escaped with minor injuries when the roof of their old house collapsed around 8.00 pm on Tuesday.
In a dramatic visual captured by the camera, a man was apparently swept away by the rampaging floodwater in Hyderabad. It is still not clear whether the man was later rescued. In the video, the man is seen being swept away by the strong currents of the rainwater as efforts are made to save him. The man tries to grab hold of a pole that comes in the path but fails as he is pushed by the strong currents. Two people standing at an elevated path are seen watching helplessly amid screams by locals who try to save the man. A tyre tube is also seen floating with him.
An old building beside Akkanna Madanna Mahankali Temple of Haribowli collapsed on Wednesday evening. However, no casualties was reported. A Ravi Kumar, Inspector of Police, Moghalpura Police Station said, "An old building beside Akkanna Madanna Mahankali Temple of Haribowli collapsed today. The building was vacant for two and a half years. It collapsed suddenly at around 5:30 PM on Wednesday. No casualties have been reported."