Grim battle for survival

Grim battle for survival

Rescue work hit by swirling waters; State seeks Rs 10,000 crore

Grim battle for survival

Residents of Kamatagi, Bagalkot district, wade through a flooded street on Saturday. KPNThe State government, meanwhile, estimated the losses at over Rs10,000 crore and sought urgent Central help.

Though the rain fury came down slightly on Saturday, the floods continued pushing up the death toll and rendering thousands of people homeless and left them looking skywards for dropping of food packets from the helicopters.

The situation is so grim that officials found it tough even to count the dead and the homeless.

Still they announced that 139 persons have died across 16 districts since September 28. On Saturday alone, 24 people died either in house collapses or being washed away by flood waters. However, unconfirmed reports put the toll at 166.

The Centre rushed eight helicopters to drop food packets and lift the people stranded in water. Still nearly 200 people are stranded, 100 each in Raichur and Bagalkot districts. In the last two days, 3,000 people have been evacuated in 16 districts. A TV channel reported that 12 bodies were fished out from Mantralaya.

Uttara Kannada reported 21 deaths in a land slide. In Bagalkot, five people including three children drowned when a motored boat which went for rescuing them capsized.
In Raichur, though the district administration has taken up the rescue operation, the rehabilitation process suffered in rural areas. Helicopters dropped food packets and the government has opened gruel centres. As many as 800 people have been airlifted.
It was a common sight to see people confronting officials seeking more help. The flood vicitms of villages of Fathepur and Turvihaal camped at the DC office in Raichur to express their agony and anger.

Hanumavva, a villager from Fathepur in Raichur was found in tears when she said that for the past five days she and her family had nothing to eat. “We are on the road as we have no shelter. We have waded through water to reach the DC office”, she said.
“The torn saree I am wearing is also borrowed from someone. At least give us food”, was her plea. There were thousands of Hanumavvas in the flood-hit districts of north Karnataka.

The government has opened gruel centres, but groceries such as rice, dal, vegetables, oil and fuel are not reaching in time as the roads have been washed away making it impossible for officials to reach the centres. Even potable water has become a rarity leading to the fear of epidemics.
Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa conducted extensive survey of the Raichur district and visited Mantralaya which has been virtually marooned.

He sanctioned Rs 10 crore to the mutt for restoration work. He will conduct an aerial survey of Bijapur, Bagalkot, Belgaum, Gadag and Koppal districts on Sunday. He camped in Bijapur on Saturday night.

The CM wants the Centre to declare the situation as a national disaster and release a relief of Rs 10,000 crore to rebuild their lives.

With the district administration focussing its attention on Mantralaya, the other affected villages cried for help in Raichur district. Unconfirmed reports put the death toll in the district at 28.

The situation was similar in a majority of the villages in these districts. Either the roads and bridges were found damaged or collapsed or the entire village itself inundated leaving the people as well as rescue operators helpless. Road connectivity between Raichur and Gulbarga has been collapsed.

With no let-up in rains and floods, even using helicopters has become difficult. Authorities have no choice but to extensively depend on motor boats. The water level in river Bhima is rising. In Bijapur, at least 20 villages including Pattadakal are completely in water leaving hundreds stranded. Road links to famous pilgrim centre Kudalasangama have been disrupted.

Despite repeated instructions from the government not to stay put in mud houses, the people continued their stay as they have nowhere to go. In Margudhi village in Jamakhandi taluk, a mother and two of her sons died when their roof came down.
In Belgaum districts three more deaths were reported due to house collapse, while in Ron of Gadag two people were buried alive when the roof came down. The water level in Nethravathi, Kumaradhara and Payaswini are also rising. Many bus services including Volvo from Mangalore-Hyderabad have been cancelled on Sunday.

In Shimoga, various tanks have breached. As many as 50 families have been evacuated in Soraba. The radial gates of Linganamakki dam were opened leading some of the areas in Kargal turning into island. Seven visitors to Jog Falls were rescued after hours of struggle.

Meanwhile, employees affiliated to the Karnataka State Government Employee’s Association has decided to donate a day’s salary to the chief minister’s relief fund. 

Highway closed

At the same time, the highway linking Karnataka to Goa has been temporarily shut down at Canacona. On Saturday over 500 people were evacuated from more than 200 homes in Canacona taluk of Goa.

Rain to continue across State

The Meteorological Department’s predictions bring no cheer to Karnataka. Heavy to very heavy rain is expected in isolated places across the State during the next two days, reports DHNS from Bangalore.  B Puttanna of Weather Bureau, Bangalore, said rain or thunder showers are expected across the State. “There could be heavy rainfall in coastal, north-interior and south-interior Karnataka”, he said.

The official said Hassan, Shimoga, Chikmagalur and Belgaum are expected to get heavy rain. Bangalore will mostly remain cloudy and is likely to receive light rain. The rain is expected to recede after 48 hours in the State.