Thirty three persons were killed, three are missing and over 30,000 persons were evacuated due to the unprecedented rainfall which lashed Hyderabad last week, Minister of Municipal Administration and Urban Development KT Rama Rao told the media on Monday. Objecting to the allegations that the government has no data regarding the deceased, KTR said that they have identified the 33 persons who were killed in the rain-related incident and have provided an ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh each to 29 families.
KTR said that a total of 80 special officers have been appointed by the government and they were engaged in a three-phase disaster management plan to minimize the number of deaths in the city. The Meteorological department has issued a heavy rain warning until Thursday for Hyderabad and other parts of Telangana. The Minister said that the government is on a high-alert, and they have already alerted the Indian army and the National Disaster Response Force to be on standby.
KTR said that the 80 senior officers will participate in pre-disaster, disaster response, and relief and rehabilitation in Hyderabad and other adjoining areas, where the authorities anticipate flooding. Stressing that the government’s prime objective is to minimize casualties, he said that the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) has suspended all its activities for the next few days and is only tasked with disaster management responsibility.
Addressing the media, KTR asked all the residents living in the low-lying areas to immediately vacate their houses and shift to the government shelters. “The shelters have food, drinking water, toilets, medical camps and masks,” he said. COVID-19 tests are being conducted in the camps, the Minister announced.
KTR said that out of the 37,000 ration kits, they have already distributed 18,000 ration kits worth Rs 2,000 each. “These kits have everything including tea powder,” he said.
Though KTR said that the present crisis in the city was due to the weather and a once-in-a-century rainfall, he acknowledged that encroachments in lakes and along the river beds had also precipitated the crisis. “We have all the reports of encroachments and satellite photos of encroachments. However, our present focus is on rescuing the people. We will discuss the encroachments later. These issues can’t be addressed overnight,” he expressed.
Monetary losses incurred
Due to the heavy rains, Hyderabad has suffered an estimated loss of Rs 670 crore, he said. Towards providing food, sanitation and relief camps, the government has already spent Rs 45 crore and another Rs 60 crore in restoring electricity, water pipes etc, he added.
The Minister said that they are hoping for monetary help from the Union government. Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao had earlier estimated a loss of Rs 5,000 crore in the state and sought an immediate assistance of Rs 1350 crore from the Union government.
In GHMC, 80 colonies and 54 apartment complexes are inundated, and 164 electric transformers are yet to be fixed, KTR said. The southern part of the city-- Charminar and LB Nagar-- were the worst-affected areas, he said.
As part of the disaster management, in the last one week they have demolished 54 weak structures, the Minister said. “Our focus is to save lives. In some incidents, we had to forcefully evacuate the people living in low-lying areas as they refused,” he said.
As the GHMC has only 18 boats, the Chief Secretary has sought help from the neighbouring states of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, who have agreed to provide 15 boats each. The Minister also thanked Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Edapaddi Palaniswami, who has announced Rs 10 crore fund and thousands of blankets as relief to the state.