BENGALURU: Even as massive rescue efforts are on in many parts of the state, there was no respite from the flood fury that has wreaked havoc, displacing over two lakh people and causing widespread damage to life and property. On Friday, the death toll due to rains and floods went up to 25 while the official count remained at 16.
Heavy rain and release of water from dams in Maharashtra made matters worse for people in the Krishna basin districts, including Belagavi which has been the worst affected. Overflowing rivers and landslides have cut off road and rail connectivity in several districts. The Mysuru-Ooty highway was blocked by the overflowing Kabini river while the Charmadi Ghat remained closed to traffic due to landslides. Road connectivity remained a major concern at several places in Hassan, Uttara Kannada, Kodagu and Belagavi districts. Flight operations too were hit as services between Bengaluru and Kochi were suspended due to heavy rains in Kerala.
Over 870 villages are affected by floods and heavy rains and more than one lakh people have been moved to 576 relief camps. Food and medical supplies are being air-dropped in several villages that are marooned. Four helicopter from the IAF, along with the Army, NDRF, SDRF and fire personnel were engaged in the rescue operations. An additional nine NDRF teams were pressed into service to bolster the efforts. A day after Union Cabinet Secretary P K Sinha reviewed the flood situation with State Chief Secretary T M Vijay Bhaskar, PM Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah spoke to CM Yediyurappa and were appraised about the situation.
The State is expected to submit a detailed report to the Centre next week seeking financial assistance.Meanwhile, former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda urged the PM to declare the flooding in Karnataka as a national diaster. “The flood situation in Karnataka has worsened. I strongly urge the Prime Minister to declare it as a national disaster of severe nature and extend additional support at the earliest,” he said.
The situation may ease to some extent in North Karnataka as the rainfall intensity in the Upper Krishna basin in Maharashtra has reduced. As on Friday, inflows at the Belagavi district border was 3.91 lakh cusecs. According to the Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Centre, scattered moderate rain is expected in north-interior Karnataka while isolated places may receive heavy rainfall in the next five days. The Malnad region is expected to receive widespread heavy rain for the next two days.