India floods (Photo Credit: PTI)
The death toll from floods in southern and western states of the country including Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra and Gujarat has risen to 178. Due to the monsoon fury, at least 68 people were killed in Kerala while 110 others killed in Karnataka, Maharashtra and Gujarat. Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Sunday undertook an aerial survey of the flood-affected areas of Karnataka and Maharashtra including Belagavi, Sangli and Kolhapur.
All rivers continue to be in the spate in Karnataka where the UNESCO world heritage site in Hampi, on the banks of the Tungabhadra River in Ballari, was inundated after more than 1.70 lakh cusec water was released from a reservoir on Sunday morning. However, officials stated that all the tourists in Hampi were shifted to safer places. In the meantime, the Ballari district administration has asked people living along the river banks to move to safer places as all 33 gates of the Tungabhadra Dam were opened in the wake of incessant rains.
Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa said that the estimate of flood-related loss in the state was Rs 10,000 crore and urged the Centre to release Rs 3,000 crore as immediate aid. The heavy monsoon since last week has left 31 people dead and displaced four lakh people in 80 talukas of 17 districts in Karnataka.
In the southern state of Kerala, the death toll due to flood has gone up to 72 while 58 others are missing. Over 2.51 lakh people have taken shelter in 1,639 relief camps. On the other hand, the IMD has issued a red alert for Kannur, Kasaragod and Wayanad in view of heavy rain forecast.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that water levels in major dams are not a cause of worry as of now.The Army, Navy, Coast Guard, National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), police force, volunteers and fishermen are involved in the rescue operation in various places.
In the meantime, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi visited Wayanad and spoke to the people sheltered in the relief camp. According to the Southern Railway a number of trains, including the Jamnagar Express, Nizamuddin-Ernakulam Duronto and Kochuveli-Amritsar Express, have been cancelled so far.
At least 35 people have been killed in a week in rain-related incidents in five districts, including 17 who drowned after a boat capsized near Brahmanal village in Sangli on Thursday. Four lakh people have so far been moved to safer areas. It is worth mentioning here that 761 villages in 69 tehsils are affected due to the monsoon fury.
Rains pounded Kolhapur, Sangli, Satara, Thane, Pune, Nashik, Palghar, Ratnagiri, Raigad and Sindhudurg districts in the state in the last one week. "The NDRF has deployed 29 teams, the SDRF three, Coast Guard 16, Navy 41 and Army 21 in these 10 districts," an official said.
In Gujarat, the death in the rain-related incidents has risen to 31, including 12 deaths were reported from Saurashtra region since Saturday. Parts of central Gujarat and Saurashtra and Kutch regions have been receiving heavy rains for the last three days. Since Saturday, Nakhatrana taluka in Kutch district received 321 mm of rains, Tankara in Morbi district gauged 268 mm of rainfall, while Dhrangadhra taluka in Surendranagar recorded 209 mm of rains.