32 Lives in Hyderabad
Nikhat Fatima | Clarion India
HYDERABAD – Hyderabad, Telangana state’s capital and largest city, received a record 191.8 mm rainfall on October 13 — the highest in the last 117 years — claiming at least 32 lives by the time this report was posted.
In the same month in 1903, the city had the highest-ever 117.1mm rainfall but this year the rains have been more severe, escalating the damage in terms of both lives and properties not just in the state capital but also in several districts of the state.
At least 32 people have so far lost their lives due to the heavy downpour that caused a flood-like situation, with homes falling like a house of cards and vehicles and household goods being swept away in turbulent waters.
Colonies built in the catchment areas of lakes have been the worst-affected as the water entered the homes and half of the houses were submerged. The inundated localities included 123 colonies in the old city of Hyderabad under three jurisdictions of the GHMC (Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation)–Rachakonda police commissionerate, Cyberabad and Hyderabad commissionerate.
Lightening, thunder and incessant rains triggered by the depression in the Bay of Bengal have mercilessly lashed the city wherein old houses have collapsed claiming lives while the flood waters have also rendered many others homeless.
The waterlogging and inundation has submerged the vehicles parked in the cellars while people living in huts and shanties in the slums have fled to safer zones. Some people who were stranded watched helplessly as their belongings floated away in front of their eyes while they carried their children onto their shoulders.
The water that has entered houses in many localities of Toli Chowki where every year the rainwater gets collected has still not subsided even after 2 days. Every monsoon, the water flows in Toli Chowki from the Banjara Hills that are located at an elevated position.
Apart from the eight to 10 houses that collapsed in the cloudburst another 300 old buildings are likely to fall if rains persist.
A family of eight has been washed away in the rains–while six of them have been rescued, two were found dead. In another shocking incident, a 3-year-old boy drowned in the cellar of a building. A postman and a doctor also lost their lives due to the torrential rains.
The Musi river that was forcibly dried up after the devastating floods of 1908 when 50,000 lives were lost, seemed to have revived with the heavy downpour and submerged the Chaderghat bridge causing blockade of transportation of the people from the old city as this bridge is used by thousands daily.
Thirteen of the 17 gates of Himayat Sagar were opened when the water reached the full reservoir level on Wednesday after nearly a decade. This water was released in the Musi river.
Several trees were uprooted and electric poles fell down causing blackout in many areas. Even the mobile network was not available for at least 20 hours, and more than 20,000 homes have been affected.
A part of the wall of the historical Golkonda Fort in Hyderabad and that of the fort in Jangaon fell down due to the heavy rains sending a warning to the heritage department.
Videos of the floods and people stranded were being circulated by all and sundry but only a handful of volunteers rushed to the rescue of the marooned citizens. The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and the Disaster Response Force (DRF) of the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation used boats to rescue more than 1,000 persons from water-logged low-lying areas.
About 60 relief centers have been set up in different places where 680 people are hosted. These relief centres are also providing food and refreshments to some one lakh people.
Individuals and organisations are mobilising clothes, food, medicines, beddings and other items to help those affected due to the rains.
The government of Telangana declared holidays on 14 and 15 October for all private institutions, offices, non-essential services and advised people to stay indoors.
However, covid patients have become more vulnerable as they are in isolation and there is reluctance from people to reach out to them.
Telangana Chief Minister K Chandshekar Rao and other leaders also visited the affected areas. The CM ordered immediate restoration of electric supply.
Five people are still missing while many areas remain under water. Nullahs are overflowing and the traffic is still congested. It may take another few days if the downpour subsides.
Water-logging has been caused by drainages which are clogged as debris, plastic materials and other garbage are discarded into drains, and also due to mismanagement of solid waste from the construction projects which the municipal corporations fail to handle. Overflowing drains in rains not emanate stench but also bring water-borne diseases in its aftermath.