The ferocious Godavari has left the lives of over two million people crippled in six districts of Andhra Pradesh as the flood flow crossed the 25.60 lakh cusecs mark on Saturday night, the highest discharge at Sir Arthur Cotton Barrage in Dowaleswaram after August 2006.
On August 7, 2006, the flood discharge in Godavari was 28,50,664 cusecs, largest after the one recorded on August 16, 1986 (35.06 lakh cusecs).
As many as 628 villages, particularly the island villages called lankas, under 62 mandals in these districts were now hit by the massive deluge but no reprieve appeared in sight yet.
But a halt in downpour, particularly in the upper catchment areas of Godavari in Maharashtra and Telangana, has raised hope over the flood receding from Sunday onwards.
That the flood level at upstream Bhadrachalam in neighbouring Telangana fell by two feet on Saturday came as good news but the discharge at the Cotton Barrage could swell to 28 lakh cusecs before falling down over the next 30-36 hours, officials here said.
The authorities have so far evacuated 76,775 persons from the affected villages and lodged 71,200 of them in 177 relief camps, according to the State Disaster Management Authority Managing Director B R Ambedkar.
Ambedkar, who has been constantly monitoring the situation, said 243 medical camps were organised in the affected villages to prevent spread of diseases. About 55,000 food packets were also distributed to the displaced people.
Two helicopters of Indian Navy have been kept ready in Rajamahendravaram to carry out rescue and relief operations whenever required.
Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy spoke to Collectors of the affected districts and directed them to be on high alert at least for the next 24 hours.
Ten teams each of NDRF and SDRF have been engaged in rescue and relief operations.
The Chief Minister asked the district Collectors to ensure distribution of 25-kg rice, one kg each of toor dal, potatoes, onions and edible oil to the flood-hit families.
Those sheltered in relief centres should be given Rs 1,000 per head, with a cap of Rs 2,000 per family as aid, he said.
According to preliminary estimates, agricultural crops in 3,173.58 hectares and horticultural crops in 5,928.73 ha have suffered damage because of the deluge.
Roads to a length of 1,101.32 km have also been damaged, according to the SDMA.