Memories of past deluge flood victims in DK

An aerial view of River Nethravathi in spate on Saturday.

With flood waters receding, the septuagenarians and octogenarians, relocated to relief centres in and around B C Road, turned nostalgic sharing memories of past floods that had rendered them homeless.

BJP Leader Harikrishna Bantwal, who has been assisting rescue teams in the relocation of people from flood-hit areas and helping inmates at relief centres, said the Saturday’s deluge evoked memories of 1974 floods and 1923 ‘Maari Bolla’ among the elderly citizens.

‘Biggest ever’

Much before the 1974 floods, South Canara Gazetteer records the biggest ever flood (Maari Bolla) to have hit the district was in 1923.

Harikrishna said his father, who was just a six-month-old baby in 1923, used to often speak about the devastation wreaked by the Maari Bolla.

All the rivers flowing through the undivided Dakshina Kannada district, including Nethravathi, Kumardhara, Gurupura, Suvarna, and Seetha, were in spate.  Thousands lost their homes and were reduced to the state of beggary after the rivers flooded their homes in Bantwal, Panemangalore and Uppinangady.

That year had witnessed the highest ever migration of people from villages to Mangaluru and Mumbai. The gazetteer also records that paddy and rice bags, worth Rs 20,000, that were stocked in godowns and granaries were also washed away in the floods.

It was 50 years later that the second massive floods struck the district on July 26, 1974. Due to the floods, 5,000 houses were destroyed and 4,000 houses were partially damaged. Six people had lost their lives and 11,000 people were rendered homeless.

The district also witnessed the death of 172 cattle and destruction of paddy crop (3,500 acres) due to the water logging. The district administration then had estimated the total loss due to the floods at Rs 2,72,29,213.

Other massive floods

A cloud burst in Udupi, part of undivided DK disrict, in 1982 triggered massive rains and floods. Elderly citizens still remember with a shudder on how the blue sky suddenly turned dark to trigger floods in the region. As many as 18 people had lost their lives, 347 houses were destroyed and over 5,417 people were rendered homeless due to the floods.

In 2009, 20 people had lost their lives in the floods (3,912 mm). Fourteen houses were destroyed and 95 farmers had reported crop loss. The total loss due to the floods was estimated to be around Rs 39.31 crore.

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