Image: India floods.
Str  /  AFP - Getty Images
Indian villagers wade through floodwaters in Koralampeta, 200 miles southeast of Hyderabad, on Wednesday, as they flee rising waters.
updated 9/21/2005 1:54:06 PM ET 2005-09-21T17:54:06

Heavy downpours sent rivers over their embankments, killing at least 56 people and forcing the evacuation of thousands in southwest India, officials said Wednesday.

Helicopters plucked people from danger in the worst hit areas of Andhra Pradesh state and delivered thousands of tons of food, medicine and blankets to camps for the displaced. Boats rescued hundreds of others.

The rains flooded railroad tracks and major highways along the coast, marooning hundreds of trucks, buses and cars, said disaster relief official Shashank Goel in Hyderabad, capital of Andhra Pradesh.

Relief workers evacuated more than 140,000 residents of low-lying villages to 465 relief camps set up in government buildings and schools located on higher ground, Goel said.

Thousands of homes demolished
Officials said at least 50 people were killed by rain and strong winds, which flattened homes, knocked down power lines and uprooted trees. Six people were killed when their homes in coastal districts collapsed.

The Godavari and Krishna rivers breached their banks at several places, flooding farms. Floods demolished more than 77,000 homes and damaged another 7,800 homes, Goel said.

The surging waters washed away or damaged 254,000 acres of tobacco, rice and vegetable fields, said Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy, the state’s top elected official.

In Bangladesh, a tropical depression churned through the Bay of Bengal and pushed walls of water onto the country’s coast, forcing thousands to flee.

At least 16 fishermen were killed when three boats capsized, the Janakantha newspaper said, quoting fishermen who returned to shore.

Anxious relatives of fishermen gathered at beaches waiting for loved ones, local reporters said. ATN Bangla TV said that 200 fishing boats were missing.

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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