It’s the mother of all deluges for Western Ghats

Lives in limbo

Showers are nothing new for residents of Charmadi and surrounding villages in Dakshina Kannada district, living right at the foot of Western Ghats as annual rainfall surpasses 3,000 mm here.

But the deluge experienced in the last week, locals say, is unprecedented.

For the very first time in recent memory, residents of Kolambe, in Charmadi village had to leave their homes after trees which were uprooted by landslides in the hills entered Mrityunjaya river and blocked the flow of water.

Choked bridge

Before the water washed away the bridge connecting Kolambe to Charmadi, the water diverted by the choked bridge entered around 50 homes, half a kilometre from the rivulet, said Pradeep Shetty, a volunteer who helped the affected.

Narayana Kolamba, among the residents whose house was flooded by the continuous downpour, said many houses were damaged and slush has filled the houses.

“We have never experienced such a situation before,” he said, adding that irrespective of the amount of rainfall they hadn’t suffered problems in the past.

Villages in the foothills such as Kajoor and Killur are facing the same woes.

Landslides

Charmadi Hasanabba, another resident, said the downpour has started causing minor landslides in the ghats since Tuesday. Four days ago, he was saved by a whisker as a tree came crashing down on his car when he was coordinating attempts to clear a section of the ghat.

“It was a narrow escape. He has been clearing the ghats and assisting people who were affected by accidents in these roads for more than 30 years now. However, he says the situation this year has never been seen before,” Badruddin Azman, one of his sons, said.

The situation would worsen as heavy rainfall was forecast for the region till August 12, he added.

Despite the downpour, efforts are now on by local residents along with authorities to clear Charmadi ghat, which is closed till August 15.
Eight earth-movers are on the job.

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