HYDERABAD, India — Under-prepared authorities battled to restore normalcy in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh on Saturday as flooding from the heaviest rain in nearly 50 years left at least 131 people dead.
Ominous, dark clouds hung over the state's capital city of Hyderabad as flood waters receded slowly and residents assessed one of the worst urban disasters in India's recent history.
The armed forces were deployed to repair a reservoir on the northern boundary of the city that threatened to flood surrounding areas.
Officials said the death toll had risen to 131 from 122 reported earlier Saturday.
Main roads in affluent parts of Hyderabad, which wants to become a center of India's booming computer software industry, were choked with slow-moving traffic as water drained from inundated buildings and into the streets.
Earthmovers were used to remove silt, workers hauled away stinking piles of rotting weeds and owners tried to salvage cars and vans washed away and stuck in narrow pathways.
"Our house was under four feet of water. It washed away all our groceries and even a gold necklace we were trying to save from the water," said Mohammed Ali, a roadside tea vendor who lives in a low-lying area of Hyderabad.
Waters continued to gush from the Hussain Sagar reservoir--in the heart of Hyderabad--and filled canals leading out of the city.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu told state lawmakers on Saturday that the damage caused by the floods would run into millions of dollars.
Naidu said about 439,800 acres of rice and other crops were damaged.
A government report said more than 40,000 people had been evacuated across the state and housed in 210 relief centers.
Nearly 1,500 houses were destroyed and about 1,150 others were damaged in 292 towns and villages. Naidu said earlier that the government was not prepared to handle the widespread havoc caused by the rains.
Hyderabad Meteorological Center Director C.V.V. Bhadram said the rains this week were the heaviest in five decades. The city was doused with about one third of its annual rain in just 24 hours.