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Sleeping city flooded

Hyderabad, July 9: Forty-five-year-old Ramulu woke up early today to a sight few residents of posh Malkajgiri had ever seen before: that of floodwater sloshing about his bedroom.

Fifteen centimetres of rainfall, which caused three tanks to breach their embankments in the early hours, sent large areas of the city under water today, killing eight persons and displacing almost 10,000.

Officials said hundreds of homes ' mainly in the slums and middle-class housing colonies in the southern and eastern parts of the city ' were flooded as their occupants slept.

Even the affluent colonies of Malkajgiri in Secunderabad, situated near the overflowing Bandlacheruvu tank, got submerged for the first time since anyone can remember. But here, too, it was the slums and middle-class homes dotting the area that took the brunt.

“I didn’t even realise when the water had rushed into my bedroom. I woke up to find my bedsheets soaked,” said Ramulu at Bhavani colony.

The low-lying Doomalaguda, Ashoknagar, Kavadiguda and Banglingapally areas were under knee-deep water. This area was hit the worst in August 2000 when flash floods killed eight persons in the state capital.

The eight who died today included three children. Most of them were electrocuted while wading through the streets.

The heavy rain, caused by a low-pressure zone over the Bay of Bengal, killed another seven elsewhere in the state, which was till recently reeling under a prolonged drought.

“We have alerted all district authorities to monitor and take measures to evacuate people from low-lying areas,” said the state relief commissioner, S. Goel. “Two camps have been opened in Hyderabad for the displaced and a control room has been set up to monitor the situation.”

“We are keeping our fingers crossed,” said Hyderabad municipal commissioner Sanjay Jaju.

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