Hyderabad: Torrential rains and floods over the last five days claimed at least 200 lives, left hundreds of thousands homeless and damaged property worth crores of rupees in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.

Submerged land: People wade through floodwaters to reach safer areas in Kurnool on Friday. At least 900,000 people in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka have been shifted to relief camps. PTI

At least 900,000 people in the two states were shifted to relief camps.

Till recently, most parts of these two states were suffering from severe drought on account of a weak monsoon. Weather officials attributed the sudden heavy rains to an area of low pressure in the Bay of Bengal.

The army and air force were called out to ferry stranded villagers and air drop food and drinking water.

While the government officials said that 168 people have died and around 300,000 displaced in Karnataka, in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh 37 people died and some 450,000 were displaced.

Karnataka home minister V.S. Acharya said on Sunday that most of the victims died either in house collapses or were swept away by the floodwaters.

Andhra Pradesh revenue minister Dharmana Prasada Rao said the death toll in the state was likely to go up once the authorities begin enumeration process after accessing the villages that now remained cut off. Meanwhile, chief minister K. Rosaiah said the situation in Kurnool and Mahaboobnagar, the two worst-hit districts of the state, began improving with water levels receding.

However, he said the real challenge to the administration began now and the immediate concern is to rehabilitate the flood victims and prevent epidemic outbreak of disease by evacuating the carcasses and debris at the earliest.