Over two million residents in six districts of Andhra Pradesh have been affected as the water levels in Godavari river crossed the 25 lakh cusecs-mark on Saturday night, PTI reported. This is the highest discharge of floodwater from Sir Arthur Cotton Barrage in Dowaleswaram, built on the lower stretch of the river, after August 2006.

The floodwater discharge in Godavari was 28,50,664 cusecs on August 7, 2006. On August 16, 1986, it was recorded at 35.06 lakh cusecs.

After Saturday’s breach, at least 628 villages under 62 mandals, located close to the river, were inundated. More than 30 habitations in Elamanchili, Narsapuram and Achanta mandals were impacted, The Hindu reported.

Unidentified officials said that the discharge at Sir Arthur Cotton Barrage could rise to 28 lakh cusecs over the next 30 to 36 hours. The water will recede soon after this, they told PTI.

The managing director of the state disaster management authority BR Ambedkar said that the authorities have so far evacuated 76,775 residents from the affected villages. He said that 177 relief camps have been set up and 71,200 persons were lodged in them.

To prevent the spread of diseases during floods, 243 medical camps were organised in the villages in distress. About 55,000 food packets were distributed among displaced residents, Ambedkar added.

Officials of the irrigation, revenue and police departments were carrying out foot patrolling to check for river bunds in order to avoid any breach, said West Godavari District Collector P Prasanthi, The Hindu reported.

“Instructions have been given to the officers who are on flood duty to keep sand bags ready in villages to strengthen the river and canal bunds and sluices,” Prasanthi added.

Meanwhile, two Indian Navy helicopters were deployed in Rajamahendravaram to carry out rescue and relief operations in the city.

Ten teams of the National Disaster Response Force and State Disaster Response Force were pressed into service as well.

According to the state disaster management authority, 3,173.58 hectares of agricultural land and 5,928.73 hectares of horticultural land have been damaged due to the deluge.

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy directed collectors of the affected districts to remain on high alert for the next 24 hours, PTI reported. They have been asked to distribute 25 kilograms of rice, one kilogram each of toor dal, potatoes, onions and edible oil to families in distress.

He also ordered to give assistance of Rs 1,000 to every person sheltered in relief centres.

On Friday, the chief minister conducted an aerial survey of the districts impacted by the Godavari, ANI reported.

On Saturday, the flood level at upstream Bhadrachalam dam in neighbouring Telangana declined by almost two feet. Due to a halt in rainfall in the upper catchment areas of Godavari flowing in the states of Maharashtra and Telangana, the floodwater in Andhra Pradesh is expected to abate Sunday onwards.

Meanwhile, the India Meteorological Department has predicted light to moderate rain or thunderstorms in few areas of the north coastal Andhra Pradesh on Sunday.

“Thunderstorm accompanied with lightening is likely in isolated places,” it added.

In the south coastal area of Andhra Pradesh, the weather agency has forecast light to moderate rain in only one or two places.

Water level in Godavari recedes in Telangana

On Saturday early morning, the water level in Godavari river in Telangana’s temple town of Bhadrachalam reached 71.30 feet, PTI reported. The last time the water levels crossed the 70-feet mark in the town was in 1990, according to The News Minute. In 1986, the river rose to 75.6 feet in the town.

By 11 am on Saturday, the water level was recorded at 70.50 feet. But officials said that the floodwater had started to recede soon afterwards.

The third warning level at Bhadrachalam is 53 feet.

Meanwhile, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao will also undertake an aerial survey of affected areas on Sunday, reported PTI. The survey will cover areas stretching between the badly-hit Kadem project in Nirmal district and Bhadrachalam town.