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Posted on Feb 18, 05:52AM | IANS
Hyderabad, Feb 17 : The heavy unseasonal rains and hailstorm that lashed parts of Andhra Pradesh during last two days claimed 17 lives and damaged crops over more than 252,000 hectares, officials said Sunday.
Seventeen deaths were reported from nine districts. While 12 people died struck by thunderbolts, three were killed due to electric shock, and two in house collapse.
According to officials in the state's disaster management department, 857 houses were damaged in four districts with the maximum damage in Adilabad.
The freak rains came as a rude shock to the farmers, who suffered huge crop loss.
Standing crops like paddy, maize and Bengal gram were damaged over 147,986 hectares while horticulture crops like mango, chilli and vegetables were damaged in over 104,558 hectares. The crop losses were reported from 12 districts. Prakasam, Krishna and Guntur districts in south coastal Andhra bore the brunt.
Unable to bear the shock, a young farmer committed suicide by consuming pesticides in his fields in Warangal district of Telangana region.
Farmers, who had taken huge loans to raise the crops, plunged into a crisis. They are looking to the government for assistance.
Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy Sunday reviewed the situation with the top officials.
He directed ministers to visit the affected districts and supervise rescue and relief work.
According to a statement from the Chief Minister's Office, the officials were asked to gather detailed information about the damages.