Giving life a chance atop a neem tree

Giving life a chance atop a neem tree

Some of the victims outside a rehabilitation camp at Atkoor, Raichur on Friday. DH photo/Anand Bakshi

A few women of Atkoor in Raichur district displayed extraordinary grit to survive against odds. It was not just courage or fearlessness that helped them keep their cool in their hour of crisis, but their indomitable spirit in saving lives.

No injuries

As many as 40 women took shelter under a neem tree at Chintalgadda, an island village, for more than 36 hours to survive the flash floods. Some had newborn babies clinging onto them. Surprisingly, none of them was hurt. As the water level rose, they took to the treetops along with their babies.

These women hail from Bata Singanapalli of Nellur district in Andhra Pradesh, and they make charcoal out of firewood. They have been residents of Chintalgadda for over two years.

Tirupathamma, one of the survivors, recalled: “We were collecting firewood when water entered the village. There was a tree nearby. We climbed it to escape the violent rush of floodwaters. Fortunately, none of us were hurt. We were saved by a rescue team that took us in a boat on the third day of our stay atop the tree. Believe it or not, for three days we had no food. The infants were breastfed.” They were rescued by a team from the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) using rubber boats.

Chandrashekhar, a constable attached to the Yapaladinni police station, who assisted the team in rescuing the victims, said some women had months-old-babies with them. The mothers tore their sarees to make swings for their infants. Luckily, the tree had sturdy branches. Now the women have been provided with shelter at a relief camp near Atkoor, he added.

Braving all odds for one’s own survival cannot be termed an extraordinary feat,  but using one’s skills at the right time for the good of others is commendable indeed.
One such person this reporter met was Narasimhalu of Kuruvapura. He is an experienced oarsman and a good swimmer too.

Unmindful of the turbulent waters in the Krishna river, he rescued more than 100 people stranded in Kuruvapura village using his coracle. Kuruvapura is an island village in the river Krishna.

 “I have been navigating coracles since my childhood. In our village, everyone knows swimming, and most men are experts in using coracles,” he said.

The NDRF personnel found it tough to reach the marooned village sailing their motor boat. However, Narasimhalu navigated his coracle, which is ironically not motor-operated.
Kuruvapura is a village with 150 plus houses. But for a primary school and a health centre, the village is virtually devoid of all facilities. The villagers depend on the neighbouring villages — Atkoor and Burdipadu — for their daily needs, which implies that they have to cross the river daily.

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