India floods leave more than 30 dead and 100 missing

Army sent to help the rescue workers

At least 31 people were killed and nearly 100 missing across two south Indian states battered by rains and flash floods, officials said on Saturday.

The southern coastal states of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu have had incessant rain since Thursday, triggered by a deep depression that formed over the Bay of Bengal and moved inland on Friday.

We have recovered 22 bodies so far from different parts of the state and many are missing
Zahid Khan, emergency services official

Authorities in Andhra Pradesh said at least 22 people were killed and 100 were missing after rain and flooding damaged homes and swept away three public buses.

Thousands of emergency workers have carried out rescue operations, helped by Indian Air Force helicopters.

The state’s worst affected region, Rayalaseema, recorded up to 24 centimetres of rain on Friday, triggering flash floods and causing rivers and lakes to swell. Thousands of residents in the coastal region were told to leave their homes.

Television footage and videos on social media showed hundreds of homes submerged as dozens of cattle were swept away in the gushing, brown murky water.

Footage emerged of an Indian Air Force helicopter crew winching 10 people to safety after they were stuck on an excavator machine caught in flash floods.

“We have recovered 22 bodies so far from different parts of the state and many are missing,” Zahid Khan, the National Disaster Response Force's leading officer in the state, told The National.

Mr Khan said a bus carrying at least 30 people in the Rajampet area was submerged by flash floods on Friday, leading to a huge search and rescue operation. Two other buses were also caught in the floods in the region.

State disaster management authority officials said the situation in Nellore and Kadapa districts was extremely critical, with panic among residents as heavy rains continued.

“It is extremely bad in Nellore and Kadapa … a very problematic situation,” Balaji, a state disaster response official who goes by one name told The National.

More than 20,000 people have been moved from their homes to around 230 relief camps set up across the state.

At least 15,000 pilgrims were reportedly stranded on top of the Tirumala hill — the sacred shrine of Hindu deity Lord Tirupati — as heavy rains flooded the entire hill town in Chittoor district, damaging the routes used by pilgrims for trekking.

TV images showed a torrent surging through the site of a temple in the town.

At least nine people, including four children, were killed after their house collapsed in neighbouring Tamil Nadu, where 14 have died in flash floods since early this month.

Officials said at least 18 people were buried under debris after their house collapsed following heavy rain in Vellore on Friday. Nine were rescued from the rubble.

The southern state has recorded the worst flooding in years, along with Kerala state where 42 died during days of floods in October.

Updated: November 21st 2021, 5:30 AM