Goan's woes to continue despite receding flood water

The flood unleashed by incessant rains for last three days led to collapse of 250 houses and claimed two lives in the taluka. However, with the water level receding in flood affected areas the situation has improved. "All the marooned people have been rescued and water is receding now," state chief secretary Sanjiv Srivastava told reporters. Srivastava is part of the high-level government team headed by Chief Minister Digamber Kamat and other officials, camping at Canacona since last night. Police confirmed two deaths while one villager is still missing.

A local social worker Sandip Poinguinkar lost his life saving some school children. "Sandip had rescued several school children when they were trapped in the flood waters. The students could return from Gandhi Jayanti celebrations only because of Sandip who helped them cross a flooded road," Prasad Pagi, a local said.

Sandip was washed away when he attempted to help a person cross a flooded stretch, losing balance and being swept away by strong currents," Pagi said. The locals were thankful that flood hit during day time, as at night it could have been more destructive. "Thankfully, all this happened during day time. If it were to take place in the night, more lives would have been lost," Rama Poinguinkar, a village elder in Poinguinim, one of the worst affected villages, said. Tiny hamlets like Ardfond, Maik, Tembe, Bhatpal, Namshi, Panyefond, Mangal and Kindlem along with the remotest village of Yede in Khotigao panchayat were completely cut off from the main land till this evening.

The people rescued by Goa Police and district administration during the day long operation were sheltered at club houses, temples and high schools. "We had sought the help of Army but by the time they arrived, our rescue operations were already underway," the chief secretary said. He said the families taking shelter at various places would be provided basic amenities. "Many families have to shift with their relatives," Srivastava said.

40-year-old Sunanda Pagi, who lost her mud house in the flood in Mangal village, said that they had to rush to safety as water began enveloping the area with alarming alacrity. "The first thought that crossed our mind was to save ourselves," she said. Many families like those of Pagi, who are small-time farmers, now find it difficult to get their lives back on the track. "We are now banking on government aid to rebuild our lives," she said. "We are yet to estimate the damage. It will be calculated now as the rescue work is over and water is receding," Srivastava said.

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