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Information on the flooded library collection at Sundarayya Vignana Kendram
Hyderabad, August 2000

Press release, September 13, 2000

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Workshop on salvaging wet library books held
By Special Correspondent
Saturday, 13 January 2001, page 3
A Workshop on the technicalities of salvaging wet books and records here on Friday threw interesting light on the methods that should be adopted by libraries to prevent damage to books and manuscripts.
The workshop organised by the Sundarayya Vignana Kendram here was addressed by Mr.Marshall Oliver and Mr.Gary Bird, experts from the Cromwell Technologies, Vancouver, Canada. It turned out to be an interesting talk as the experts explained with the help of slides the setting in of different molds and the ways to tackle it.
They cautioned librarians and other staff members in such places against working on damaged books without proper protective measures. they complicated Vignana Kendram members for immediately reacting to the situation after the last year's floods which damaged about 1.3 lakh books and journals.
The duo would be submitting a project report by Sunday to their headquarters. They expressed happiness at the condition of the books now laying in cold storage and said once their job was over, the books would be as good as the new ones.
Appealing for liberal contributions form book lovers and philanthropists for the cause, the library authorities said that it would cost them Rs.50 lakhs for the project to be completed.
There are 2,200 crates of books still laying in cold storage, consisting one of the world's finest collections of Urdu periodicals and printed books. Most imprints date from the 19th and early 20 centuries.

Lab for restoring flood-damaged library books
By Our Staff Reporter
From the issue dated Friday, 12 January 2001, page 5
Mr. Marshall Oliver and Mr.Gary Bird, of the Cromwell Restoration Ltd., the Vancouver-based company which is assisting a consortium of north American universities in the restoration of rare and valuable periodicals and books of the Sundarayya Vignana Kendram library here have expressed confidence of accomplishing the task in about a year.
About 1.25 lakhs books and periodicals were damaged in the floods that occurred here on August 24 last year.
They told a press conference here on Thursday, along with Mr.L.Balagangadhar Rao, Managing Trustee, Dr.Murali, Reader, Department of History, Central University, and one of the trustees, and Mr.Sambi Reddy, Secretary of the Kendram, that the firm was undertaking the restoration work for the first time in India.
They said the company had developed a new generation of documentation restoration capability, including specially designed thermal vacuum molecular freeze drying chambers and molecular sieve drying chambers. 'We have the proprietary technology today to achieve amazing results in controlled laboratory conditions,' Mr.Oliver said.
"Books and irreplaceable documents infested with mould, bacteria or damaged by fire or water can often be restored. Just a few years ago, prior to Cromwell's technological advances, even historically significant collections could not be restored,' he said.
The duo said after visiting the foster cold storage freezer in city - where the damaged periodicals/books/manuscripts have been kept at minus 20 degrees C - that a laboratory would be set up in the kendram premises for treating the material. A dehumidifier is to be purchased at a cost of Rs.50,000. They said the equipment brought by them could not land here because of the missed flight.
Mr.Oliver and Mr.Bird said they would train the kendram staff in the restoration work. Tomorrow, the duo will be attending a day's workshop for the benefit of conservations in the State working in various libraries and institutions. About 70 delegates, including some form Kolkata and Chennai are expected to attend.
According to Mr.Balagangadhar Rao and Mr.Sambi Reddy, the restoration work of the damaged material would cost the Kendram about Rs.45 lakhs.
Of the amount, Rs.18.5 lakhs had been received in the form of donations, including from the Universities of Chicago and Columbia and other institutions which contributed $13,000.
Mr.Rao appealed for public contributions to strengthen the kendram efforts in the restoration work of the damaged material.
Mr.Romoji Rao, Chief Editor, ENADU, on Thursday, donated Rs.1 lakh for restoration of books and periodicals of the Sundarayya Vignana Kendram's library, which were damaged in floods on August 24 last year.
He handed over a cheque to Mr.Lavu Balagangadhara Rao, President, Sundarayya Grandalaya Samstha. In a statement, Mr.Gangadhara Rao thanked Mr.Romoji Rao for his gesture.

Scholarship on Ice
From The Chronicle of Higher Education
From the issue dated September 29, 2000
Researchers often have to wade through floor-to-ceiling stacks of books in search of a particular title. But a recent flood in India put a slight twist on that scene, as scholars found themselves wading through water to rescue rare texts written in Urdu.
The floodwaters that rushed into the city of Hyderabad in August left more than nine feet of mud, water, and sewage covering 26,500 books and 60,000 periodicals in the basement of the Sundarayya Vignana Kendram , a sister institution to the University of Chicago. The collection had been purchased from a private owner in 1996 by 10 American higher-education institutions, including Columbia University and the University of Chicago. The books were being catalogued and microfilmed.
As the waters receded, nearly 100 university volunteers donned rubber gloves, boots, and masks to save the collection. They rinsed the materials in clean water before packing them into milk crates and storing them at a nearby commercial freezer, to prevent the growth of mold. The texts will remain frozen until preservationists can begin work on them. They can't delay for long, though, because in December, the freezer is slated to take in dairy products.
"We're competing with the dairy industry, literally," says James Nye, director of Chicago's South Asia Language and Area Center.
What's more, the freezer costs $2,300 a month to rent, and that's eating into the funds the universities had set aside to film the books, so they're scrambling to find additional money.
But the first priority is to protect the books and periodicals for the next stage of repair. The collection, Mr. Nye says confidently, has "glowing prospects for a full recovery."

Saving a valuable collection
From Frontline
Volume 17 - Issue 20, Sep. 30 - Oct. 13, 2000
In a unique conservation effort, the Sundarayya Vignana Kendram in Hyderabad salvages thousands of historical writings that were damaged in the August floods.
Full article available here.

The making of the rare library
From Frontline
Volume 17 - Issue 20, Sep. 30 - Oct. 13, 2000
Article available here

India Floods Leave Millions Homeless
.c The Associated Press
August 27
HYDERABAD, India (AP) - Monsoon rains washed away homes, roads and villages in eastern India during the past week, leaving hundreds of thousands of people to drink contaminated flood water and eat snails and tadpoles to survive. At least 150 people died, bringing the death toll to more than 300 since the monsoon season began last month.
Millions of people in three eastern states were left homeless by the rains, which had been typical of India's July-September monsoon season until recent days, when they became extremely heavy. In southeastern Andhra Pradesh state, meteorologists recorded 10 inches of rain - the highest amount in more than five decades.
In addition to the 150 people who died in Andhra Pradesh, at least a half-million were uprooted from their homes. State officials hurried to try and feed nearly 100,000 people who were crammed into government shelters.
Hundreds of wailing people sat on the wet floors of schools and community halls Sunday in Hyderabad, the state capital. They received drinking water and packets of food, but many expressed despair.
"We came out of our flooded house with nothing but the clothes we had on that night," said Sunkamma, a 45-year-old woman from Virasatnagar. Sunkamma lost everything, including her most prized possession - a black-and-white television set.
"We have nothing left," she said.
The rain washed away thousands of homes and roads, damaged public property and private crops and ripped open 1,600 irrigation tanks. Power was cut off in some areas.
State Chief Minister Chandra Babu Naido described the floods as "one of the worst calamities to befall this state" and asked the federal government for a $66 million aid package. The overall damage to the state was estimated at $164 million.

Andhra flood toll rises to 65
HT Correspondent
(Hyderabad, August 24)
The death toll to heavy rains and floods in Andhra Pradesh has mounted to 65 with reports of devastation and deaths still pouring in. Unofficial sources put the death toll at 102.
Making a statement in the State Legislative Assembly on Thursday before it was adjourned for two days, Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu said that the death toll included 12 killed in the State capital and outskirts. He said the flood situation on account of the torrential rains over the last three days was quite alarming with as many as 13 districts severely affected.
The Chief Minister said the Assembly was being adjourned for two days (Thursday and Friday) to allow the legislators to go to their constituencies to monitor the flood situation and oversee the relief and rescue operations. He said besides the death of 65 persons, five persons were still missing. He said the situation in three districts -- Guntur, Prakasam and Kurnool -- was grim, accounting for most of the deaths reported so far.
Mr Naidu said that the State received excess rainfall in the last three days, with rivers, rivulets and other water bodies in spate in many places.
He pointed out that 16,000 people were evacuated from low-lying areas to safer places. As many as 132 relief and rescue teams and 571 medical and paramedical teams have been deployed in the affected areas. He said that 53 persons stranded in RTC buses, caught in flash floods, were rescued by helicopters. One helicopter is being deployed for rescuing the marooned persons.
He said that the low pressure from the Bay of Bengal crossed over the Andhra coast near Kakinada on Wednesday. Under the influence of the low pressure, heavy rains have been forecast for the next 36 hours. Gales with wind speed reaching 45 to 50 km were likely along the south coastal districts. Besides the State capital, 12 other districts in the State have been affected. In all, 292 villages were severely affected.
From the online version of The Hindustan Times

60 killed, many homeless as rains to lash AP
At least 60 people were killed and hundreds rendered homeless as torrential rains for the past two days left a trail of death and destruction throughout the state.
According to the weather office here, the heavy rains due to a depression in the Bay of Bengal continued to lash the state. Thousands of people have been evacuated from low-lying areas to relief camps set up by the state government. Scores of colonies were submerged in flood water forcing people to take shelter on roof tops.
The army and air force personnel have swung into action for relief and rescue operations in the affected areas. Two IAF helicopters rescued about 50 passengers perched on top of a state road transport bus which was stranded in a flooded rivulet in Guntur district. However, authorities fear that losses could mount once communications are restored. The fire brigade office in the state capital received innumerable calls from local residents complaining about flooding in their homes. The Indiramma Colony near the Hyderabad airport was submerged and its residents were shifted to a nearby school.
Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu is scheduled to make an aerial survey of the affected areas later in the day. Many areas here were plunged into darkness following breakdown in the power supply.
Normal life in the state capital was completely, thrown out of gear for the second day today as many roads were submerged affecting traffic and educational institutions declared a holiday today as a precautionary measure.
Early today six people were killed in a wall collapse in the posh Banjara Hills area. A maximum number of 27 deaths were reported from the worst affected Guntur district. State revenue minister Ashok Gajapathy Raju rushed to Kurnool district by a helicopter to assess the situation.
Making a statement in the state assembly last night the chief minister announced an ex-gratia of Rs one lakh each to the families of those killed in the havoc. Mr Naidu also held a video conference with collectors of all the affected districts to take necessary steps to cope with the situation.
From the online version of The Deccan Herald

Record rain submerges Hyderabad
IAF to the rescue Hyderabad, Aug. 24: The toll due to unprecedented rainfall in different parts of the State rose to 94, including 20 in the city, even as roads and buildings were cut off, Nandyal was affected, the State government belatedly woke to up for rescue and relief operations.
Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu made an aerial survey of Hyderabad and Nandyal towns and reviewed the situation at a high-level meeting in the evening. He told mediapersons that Guntur recorded the highest number of deaths, 26, followed by Hyderabad with 20 deaths, Nalgonda 10, Mahbubnagar 9, Nellore, Prakasam and Kurnool four each, Ranga Reddy, Krishna and Cuddapah three each, Khammam two and Warangal and Nizamabad one death each. Four other deaths were yet to be confirmed.
The State capital, which experienced a record 24 cm of rain (until 8 am on Thursday), a 46-year record, wore a battered look with the gushing waters not sparing any area, not even the upmarket Banjara Hills and Jubillee Hills. The worst affected areas were Bowenpally, Safilguda, Maktha, Gandhi Nagar, Ashok Nagar, Bagh Lingampally, Chikkadpally, Rasoolpura, Begumpet, Viman Nagar, Indira Nagar, Hasmathpet, Trimulgherry, Lalaguda and Mettuguda. In Nadeem Colony near Toli Chowki, Army personnel rescued over 100 marooned families in boats. The casualties, mostly victims washed away in the flood waters, were reported from Jubillee Hills and Chilkalguda (three deaths each), Chikkadpally, Kukatpally, Nallakunta (two each).
The Chief Minister said traffic came to a standstill at 35 places on national highways due to breach of tanks, the worst affected being Srikakulam-Chennai National Highway. Similarly, 13 State highways had breached and 11 culverts collapsed. Thousands of houses had been destroyed, he said.
Naidu said in all 291 villages were badly affected all over the State with an average rainfall of 150 mm to 310 mm. At 65 places, drinking water sources had been destroyed and power supply was disrupted to 95 villages.
About the situation in the State capital, the Chief Minister said a 10-member team of senior officials headed by an IAS officer and coordinated by Minsiter K Vijayarama Rao had been constituted to oversee the relief operations in the marooned areas in the city. The work had been divided into specific areas and entrusted to the officials. Similaly, senior IPS officers, assited by greyhound police had been pressed into service to undertake rescue operations, he said.
Naidu said the government was at present concentrating on rescue and relief operarations. He said he would speak to Prime Minister A B Vajpayee and send a preliminary report to seek central assitance. A detailed report on the extent of losses would be sent in a day or two, he added.
Earlier, making a suo motu statement in the Assembly, Naidu announced ex-gratia of Rs 1 lakh each to the members of the bereaved family who lost their kin. Describing the rains as “unprecendented,” he said 292 villages were affected, 2,644 houses were damaged — 1440 fully and 1204 partly — 16,060 people evacuated to safer places and 101 relief camps opened. Later, the Assembly was adjourned by Speaker Pratibha Bharathi for two days to allow the legislators to tour their rain affected constituencies.

From the online version of The Deccan Chronicle

Rains claim 95 lives in AP
Hyderabad, Aug. 24. (UNI)
Torrential rains and floods in several parts of Andhra Pradesh in the last three days have so far claimed 95 lives and caused extensive damage to crops, houses and communication facilities.
Most of the deaths were due to wall collapse and drowning. The highest number of 35 deaths were reported from Guntur district, followed by Hyderabad 18, Cuddapah 10, Nalgonda 8, Kurnool and Ranga Reddy five each, Prakasam, Krishna and Warangal four each, Karimnagar and Khammam one each.
(Photo by Mohd. Yousuf shows a man barely managing to keep himself above flood waters, in Hyderabad on Thursday.)
Normal life was thrown out of gear in 13 districts, including the State capital, which recorded the highest ever rainfall of 24 cm in a day.
Army personnel in motor boats rescued people from marooned houses in some of the inundated low-lying areas in the city, while IAF helicopters airdropped 6,000 food packets to the marooned people in the city.
IAF choppers were pressed into service to rescue marooned people in Peddamandiyam Mandal in Cuddapah district where the river Penna was in full spate.
Nearly 300 villages were affected in the rain-hit districts and about 20,000 people from the marooned areas were evacuated and provided shelter in relief camps.
Earlier in the day, the Andhra Pradesh Assembly mourned the flood victims. In an unprecedented move, the Assembly was adjourned for two days to enable the Ministers and members to supervise the relief and rescue operations.
From the online version of The Hindu

Monsoon rains flood 300 Indian villages and kills 90
© 2000 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
Friday 25 August, 2000
5:49am AEST
Heavy monsoon rains have flooded dozens of villages and destroyed hundreds of homes in southern India, killing more than 90 people.
As many as 20,000 people are now said to be homeless.
Heavy rains and winds from the Bay of Bengal have lashed Andhra Pradesh with more than 2,000 homes in 300 villages flattened.
The military's been deployed to help with emergency relief, which has rescued more than 2,000 marooned people.
Several roads, including the national highway which connects the state to the rest of India, have also been damaged and schools and colleges have been shut.

Floods kill 85 people in south India
14:59 08-24-00
HYDERABAD, India, Aug 24 (Reuters) - Eighty-five people have been killed and over a thousands homes destroyed in floods following two days of heavy rain in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, officials said on Thursday.
Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu told state legislators that the situation was grim in three districts -- Guntur, Prakasam and Kurnool.
The floods in the south followed a catastrophic monsoon season in north and northeast India, Bhutan, Nepal and Bangladesh, where about 300 are feared dead and millions homeless.
The Press Trust of India quoted Naidu as saying 37 people had died in Guntur district, 10 in Nalgonda, nine in Medak and nine in other districts.
A further 20 people were killed in the twin cities of Hyderabad-Secunderabad, the state capital Hyderabad's police commissioner S.R. Sukumara said. Some of the victims died when their homes collapsed.
Naidu said preliminary reports on Andhra Pradesh showed 500 minor irrigation tanks were breached and 67,351 hectares of paddy and other crops washed away by vast lakes of water.
The flood waters destroyed 1,440 houses and damaged a further 1,204 houses. Naidu said the government had sent 132 relief and rescue teams as well as 571 medical teams to the affected districts.
He said that 53 people stranded in state-transport buses following the floods had been rescued by helicopters.
About 16,000 people have been evacuated from low-lying areas to higher ground because rivers in many parts of the state are flowing dangerously high.
Under the influence of low pressure weather patterns, heavy rains have been forecast for the next 36 hours. Gales with wind speeds reaching 45 to 50 km (28 to 31 miles) per hour were likely along the south coastal districts.

Heavy Rains Kill Dozens in India
.c The Associated Press
AP-NY-08-24-00 0520EDT
HYDERABAD, India (AP) - Torrential rains killed 49 people in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, where 5,000 people had to be evacuated after flood waters inundated their homes, the state's chief minister said.
Nearly half the deaths took place in Guntoor district, 180 miles east of Hyderabad, the state capital, Chandra Babu Naidu said late Wednesday.
Nine people were killed in Guntoor when their hotel collapsed. The rest of the deaths in Andhra Pradesh were caused by house collapses, lightning strikes and drowning in rivers swollen by two days of incessant rains, Naidu said.
"The situation is grim. More heavy rains have been forecast for tomorrow," Naidu said.
Several feet of water entered Nandyal, a town of 150,000 people located 170 miles south of Hyderabad. Air Force helicopters rescued all 53 people aboard a bus swept into a river, Naidu said.

Floods hit south India, 44 people missing
01:52 08-24-00
HYDERABAD, India, - Forty-four people were missing in floods caused by two days of heavy rain in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, the state's chief minister said.
Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu said 25 people were reported missing in the Guntur district on the coast. Five of them were in a jeep swept away by surging waters, Naidu told the state legislative assembly late on Wednesday.
The other casualties were spread across four other districts, he said.
The chief minister said helicopters were ferrying supplies and medicines to the affected regions. People living in low-lying areas would be evacuated to higher ground, he said.
Officials said most of the missing people were probably dead. More information would become available when communications improved after the flood waters began receding, they said

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