Hundreds stranded, 4,320 rescued in Karnataka

Kodagu: Even as hundreds remained stranded on hilltops in towns and villages in flood-hit Kodagu in Karnataka, an official said 4,320 marooned people have been rescued till Monday.

“The rescue work has entered its final stage. The 4,320 who have been rescued have been shifted to 41 relief camps in the district,” a Karnataka State Disaster Management Authority official told IANS.

Teams from the Indian Army and Navy along with state officials were screening the villages and towns to rescue anyone still stranded, he added.

Cut off by landslides and damaged roads, the coffee-growing district, located in the Western Ghats, has been the worst affected in the state due to southwest monsoon since June first week.

The state’s emergency operation centre, which was receiving many distress calls from those stranded, did not get any since early Monday, said the official who did not wish to be named.

“Several phone lines have been cut off due to the rains,” he added.

The unabated rains, leading to flooding and landslips, have claimed eight lives so far in the district, according to Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy’s office.

About 50 Dogra Regiment soldiers, 12 naval divers, 62 officials from the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), 750 fire service officials and Home Guards with boats and hundreds of volunteers have been carrying out relief work.

The Air Force is using M-17 helicopters to airlift the marooned.

In all, 1,194 specialised rescuers from the state and central agencies are involved in the drive.

With several relief camps sheltering more people than they can accommodate, the district administration on Monday asked volunteers, NGOs in the state to donate relief materials including clothing, raincoats, kitchen utensils and first aid equipment among other things.

The state-run Karnataka State Road Transport Corp (KSRTC) has resumed all its intra-state bus services towards Madikeri in Kodagu district and flood-hit Kerala.

The bus services were suspended due to flooding and damaged roads due to landslides.

About 123 km of roads are estimated to be damaged due to the rains, while more than 800 homes have been destroyed. Most of the district’s arterial roads have been damaged in landslides.

Over the past 24 hours, Kodagu district received an average of 6.1 cm of rainfall, while few regions received a maximum rainfall of up to 10.3 cm, according to Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Centre (KSNDMC).

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) predicts moderate to heavy rains to continue across coastal districts of Udupi, Uttara Kannada and Dakshina Kannada till Wednesday.

The heavy rains in coastal district of Dakshina Kannada have claimed one life so far, forcing nearly 800 people to shelter in temporary shelters.

The Met office predicts light to moderate rains in south interior districts, including Kodagu, over the next two days.