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Rains claim 45 lives in Andhra
Air, rail, road traffic, power supply hit

Tribune News Service and agencies

Hyderabad, June 23
Torrential rains lashing several parts of Andhra Pradesh for the past two days have claimed 45 lives and wreaked havoc in the coastal and Rayalseema regions, inundating several areas, disrupting air, rail and road traffic and snapping communications and power supply. Kurnool district in the Rayalseema region bore the brunt accounting for 20 deaths as several areas remained cut-off from the rest of the state in the wake of heavy flooding.

Five persons died in Guntur and four in Prakasam district. The rain-related deaths were also reported from Srikakulam, East Godavari, Kadapa, Karimnagar and Mahaboobnagar, besides the state capital.

Army personnel have rushed to Kurnool, about 250 km from here, to assist the civil administration in relief and rescue operations. Two helicopters, packed with relief materials, were also sent to the worst-affected district.

Over 56,000 people from vulnerable areas had been evacuated and accommodated in 95 relief camps across the state, Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhar Reddy told reporters.

Reddy, who had cut short his Delhi tour and rushed here last night, was forced to cancel his aerial visit to the flood-affected areas due to inclement weather. The weather office has forecast heavy rains in parts of the coastal belt and Telangana region over the next 24 hours.

The Chief Minister had yesterday announced an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh to the families of those killed in the heavy rains. Fourteen persons, who were working near a bridge under construction, and six passengers of an autorickshaw were washed away in flash floods in Kurnool district yesterday.

Following flooding of tracks, the South Central Railway has cancelled several trains and diverted some others. Hundreds of passengers were stranded in buses as roads were badly affected at several places in Kurnool, Guntur, Anantapur and Chittoor districts.

A major tragedy was averted in Kurnool district yesterday when 21 passengers of an RTC bus caught in the swirling waters of Orvakallu stream were rescued by the local authorities.

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