Landslide scare: Residents move to safer areas

A view of Indira Nagar in Madikeri. DH photo

With just weeks away for annual monsoon season to set in, residents are shifting to safer areas from areas vulnerable to landslide in the city. 

Indira Nagar and Chamundeshwari Nagar residential layouts, devastated by landslides in the previous monsoon, now wear a deserted look as the residents have vacated their own houses to move to rented houses in safer locations.

Even though the Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Centre had assured that the rain will be normal this time, the residents, however, are not willing to take any chances. They still fear that floods may occur any time once the monsoon arrives in the district.

The number of people vacating the houses is more in the residential layouts which are considered to be vulnerable to natural disasters. Residents shifting essential household items to goods trucks was a common spectacle in these layouts. Some residents have opted to stay in the houses of their relatives.

In the previous monsoon, 143 houses at Indira Nagar and Chamundeshwari Nagar, located at the foot of hills, were damaged during the flash floods and landslides. After the rain receded, some residents managed to reside in the damaged houses. But this time, the residents are sceptical and do not want to take any risks.

Messages being circulated on social media, predicting the breakout of heavy rain and landslides, have increased the fear among the people. Many are forced to stay in the homes of their relatives as there are a few rented houses due to the increase in the number of homestays. “The rent is also expensive,” a resident
added.

Though the government has fixed Rs 10,000 as a rental allowance to the victims of natural calamity, many house owners refused to rent out houses without paying a lump sum deposit in advance.

Rukmini, a resident of Indira Nagar, said that her name was not part of the list of the beneficiaries who were provided houses by the government. Her house was damaged seriously and she could not live in the house anymore, she said.

A team of geologists and district-level officials conducted another round of survey in places hit by landslides on Thursday. Workshops are being conducted by the district administration and the police department towards disaster management, in the places considered to be vulnerable for a natural disaster.

“The district administration is ready to face tough situations this time. An NDRF team will be stationed in the district during the monsoon and the team will reach by the end of this month. At the moment, four rescue teams have been formed within the district. The teams have been trained to rescue people affected by floods and landslides”,  Deputy Commissioner Annies Kanmani Joy said.

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