Landslides leave Kodagu villages ravaged

Landslides leave Kodagu villages ravaged

The rescue operations underway at Jodupala near Madikeri on Saturday. DH PHOTO/Govindraj Javali

Remains of houses, uprooted electric poles and trees, slush-filled road, heaps of wooden logs and gushing water is what one can see at Jodupala, situated 14-km away from Madikeri—on the border of Dakshina Kannada-Kodagu districts.

Rain coupled with landslides and gushing water has wreaked havoc at Jodupala. The landslide has washed away three houses and a shop. Four members of Basappa’s family along with shopkeeper Umar have gone missing. The rescue teams have retrieved two bodies including that of Basappa (D group worker at Sullia Hospital) and his daughter Monisha. A few senior citizens were carried by the rescue team on the landslide stretch. The villages in and around Jodupala looks deserted with houses deserted and dogs and cattle waiting for their masters to return and rescue them.

A small stream has taken the course of a ‘river’ with water gushing along with thousands of trees from hilly ranges.

Landslides have occurred on multiple locations at Monnangeri, Second Monnangeri, Madenadu on NH 275 from Jodupala to Madikeri. Majority of the families on these stretches have already been rescued. There is a possibility of a few more families being caught in the hilly ranges, according to rescue operators. Dakshina Kannada district administration along with NDRF personnel have already rescued over 350 people from the affected areas and shifted them to gruel centres at schools at Kallugundi and Sampaje and Thekkila community hall at Aranthodu in Sullia in Dakshina Kannada.

At Jodupala, a culvert across the road has been washed away. The local youth along with officials from fire service are engaged in clearing huge boulders that have come along the landslide to facilitate the easy flow of water.

Dinesh, Manohar, Vijay from Sampaje who rushed to the spot on hearing the incident on Friday at 9 am said “by the time we reached, the houses and shops were already washed away. We could see a dead body but could not retrieve as it washed away.”

Forest officials from Sampaje who were part of rescue operation said, “we rescued 13 members from the hilly ranges of Jodupala including a six-month pregnant woman and an aged woman in the morning. The victims were so happy looking at us approaching them and they started hugging and crying,” they said.

Recalling the incident, a teary-eyed Appaji, an ex-servicemen who was rescued on Saturday, said : “We faced a lot of difficulties. We could hear only loud sounds and were not aware of what was happening around us. I have left behind my cattle including two-month-old calf in my house.”

A police personnel who was on rescue operation said “There was four to five feet water flowing in the stream beside the road on Friday. The water level has receded now.”