In a dramatic rescue, as many as 31 fishermen who were stuck in Andhra Pradesh's West Godavari district were shifted to safety by the Indian Navy and disaster management authorities on Friday, after they got stranded due to a flash flood.
The relentless rains in coastal Andhra Pradesh have resulted in flash floods close to the banks of the Godavari river over the past week. According to officials, 31 fishermen including nine women, were stuck on the upper stream of the cofferdam of the Polavaram project.
The fishermen, reportedly hailing from Kunavaram mandal, were out for fishing on Thursday. As the water level rose, their boats got swept away. All of them managed to reach the cofferdam of Polavaram for safety but were stranded as they were surrounded by gushing water on all sides.
The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and local authorities reached the spot and an Indian Navy helicopter from Visakhapatnam was tasked with airlifting the fishermen.
A statement from the state disaster management authority said, "The chopper reached the site and has begun airlifting. State Emergency Control Centre is coordinating with ground level officials of Irrigation, Revenue and Fire Departments besides SDRF (state disaster response force) and NDRF teams."
Speaking to TNM, West Godavari SP Navadeep Singh said, "Nine women were airlifted while the remaining men were rescued through boats by NDRF and SDRF forces, all of them are safe."
According to the SP, the rescued people are being sent to their native places.
31 fishermen who were stuck near the cofferdam of the Polavaram project in Andhra's West Godavari district rescued by authorities. District SP tells @CharanT16 all of them are safe now pic.twitter.com/c6WH5W4I1sâ€” Nitin Bhaskaran (@NitinBGoode) August 9, 2019
Disaster management officials have also warned fishermen from going into the sea, given the prevalence of floods in the region.
As many as 60 NDRF and 156 SDRF personnel have been deployed at different locations in East Godavari along with 111 personnel from the Fire Services department. Meanwhile, 30 NDRF, 69 SDRF and 49 Fire Services personnel have been deployed in West Godavari district.
As per the latest report, the water level at Dowleswaram barrage continues to rise and is presently at the second warning level. If the rains continue, officials expect that the water may reach the third warning level by Friday night.
Andhra Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy on Thursday conducted an aerial survey of the flood-affected areas and held a review meeting with ministers and officials concerned in Rajahmundry. The state government said that the floods have affected thousands of people in the Godavari basin and about 19,000 have been evacuated from low-lying areas and shifted to relief camps.