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Extreme rainfall in Telangana results in at least 23 fatalities, India

Extreme rainfall in Telangana results in at least 23 fatalities, India

The death toll in Telangana from extreme rainfall this week has climbed to 23, as 14 more bodies were recovered on Friday, July 28, 2023, from the floodwaters in Mulugu district. This district witnessed the heaviest 24-hour rainfall in India thus far during this year’s monsoon season, surpassing even the record-breaking downpour in Chityal of Bhupalapally district earlier this week.

In 24 hours to 07:00 LT on July 27, a record rainfall of 616.5 mm (24.3 inches) hammered Chityal in Bhupalapally district, Telangana, causing severe flooding in low-lying areas. The record was surpassed in 24 hours to 08:30 LT on July 28, when Telangana’s Mulugu district received an even greater 649.8 mm (25.6 inches) of rainfall.

The figure was announced by the India Meteorological Department (IMD), marking it as the first time such extreme value has been observed this season. Prior to this, Gujarat’s Gir Somnath (540 mm / 21.2 inches) and Matharan (400 mm / 15.7 inches) in Maharashtra, both last week, had recorded single-day highs.

As a result of this extreme rain and floods that ensued, at least 23 people lost their lives. 8 deaths occurred in the village of Kondai in Mulugu district, which was entirely inundated on Thursday. The victims were washed away by the flooded Jampanna Vagu stream, and their bodies were recovered the following day. The death toll could potentially rise further as floodwaters recede and more bodies are found, according to government sources.

The situation prompted immediate action from Telangana’s Chief Secretary, Santhi Kumari, who warned district collectors, police commissioners, and superintendents of police across the state of the forecast for another 48 hours of heavy rainfall. She emphasized the need for vigilance and implementing preventive measures, as all streams, tributaries, minor irrigation tanks, and rivers had reached their full levels.

In response to the flooding, district officials were tasked to evacuate individuals from submerged areas and provide shelter and food during emergencies. Restrictions were placed on public movement near unprotected waterfalls and affected roads, which sustained damage from the rains. The state government also sought assistance from the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) to provide relief to those stranded.

The overflowing Godavari River near Bhadrachalam led to the closure of the Palvancha-Bhadrachalam road due to inundation at the Nagaram bridge. This was prompted by heavy rainfall in the catchment areas and flows from upper riparian states, causing the river to reach a critical level of 15.24 m (50.2 feet). Meanwhile, the Central Water Commission (CWC) issued flood warnings at Bhadrachalam and the first warning at Dowleswaram in Andhra Pradesh.

In another rescue operation, 80 tourists stranded at the Muthyaladhara waterfalls in the jungle of Venkatapuram mandal were successfully rescued by Mulugu District authorities with the help of rescue teams.

In the village of Kondai, the survivors who found an elevated spot for refuge were supplied with emergency provisions by Indian Air Force helicopters. Later, NDRF teams shifted them to rehabilitation centers set up in the Eturnagaram mandal headquarters.

References:

1 Extreme rainfall shatters all records in Telangana, Chityal receives a massive 616.5 mm (24.3 inches) in 24 hours, India – The Watchers – July 27, 2023

2 14 dead as Telangana district logs India’s heaviest 24 hour rainfall this monsoon – The Times of India – July 29, 2023

Featured image credit: Weatherman Shubham (stillshot)

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