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24 dead, more rain; we weren't warned, says Andhra Pradesh govt

24 dead, more rain; we weren't warned, says Andhra Pradesh govt
Hyderabad The already-flooded regions of coastal Andhra Pradesh - districts like Vizianagaram and Srikakulam - will continue to be beaten by heavy rain over the next 24 hours, says the MeT department. More than 20 people have died in the last five days, the savage after-effect of Cyclone Nilam that hit last Wednesday.

Initially, the Andhra Pradesh government had said Cyclone Nilam was in fact good news for the state because farmers would benefit from the rains it would bring.

The devastation was unanticipated. Over 67000 people have been evacuated late - the state's revenue minister, Raghuveera Reddy, says the Indian Meteorological Department issued no warning about the torrential rain that would batter the coast once the cyclone had passed. He claims the IMD had said they don't have technological resources to accurately predict the northeast monsoon as against the southwest monsoon. A 400-crore rupees project had reportedly now been initiated to make the northeast monsoon more predictable in the next three years.

Critics of the Congress government say this is a shabby attempt to deflect the blame for a lethargic emergency plan and extreme mismanagement.

The poor drainage system in the coastal districts is a problem that remains unaddressed. "In the East and West Godavari districts, the drainage system certainly has to be improved and right now the works are going on," said Sridhar Babu, state Civil Supplies Minister.

For farmers, the consequences of Cyclone Nilam are unrelenting. Thousands of cattle have perished, over five lakh hectares of standing crop is under water and over one hundred villages are still cut-off from supplies and assistance. The state government has announced the one lakh fifty thousand rupees will be paid to those who lost a family member in the recent floods.

The Chief Minister will tour the affected areas on Tuesday. TDP leader Chandrababu Naidu and YSR CP leader Vijayalakshmi are already in the affected area.
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