Bengaluru, Sept 20, 2020: Heavy rains in the past few days have wreaked havoc in several parts of Karnataka, especially in coastal Udupi district where houses and crops have been submerged, prompting the government to rush disaster response force personnel for rescue operations on Sunday.
Officials in the Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Centre (KSNDMC) said an alert for heavy rains has been issued for Malnad, coastal regions and a few interior and northern districts for the next couple of days. The second wave of southwest monsoon fury hit the state which is yet to recover fully from the floods in North Karnataka, the Malnad and the coastal regions last month amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
The situation in Udupi was grim as some villages have been submerged, houses have collapsed, roads washed away and standing crops completely destroyed, a senior official in the KSNDMC said on Sunday. In the district headquarter town of Udupi,several houses, four-wheelers and roads have come under sheets of water. State Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Sunday said he has directed the Udupi district authority to take relief measures immediately.
"I am aware of the floods in Udupi inundating a few villages. I have directed the district authorities to rush a 250-member team of the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) there. The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) will also reach there," he said in a statement.
The Minister said he would speak to Revenue Minister R Ashoka regarding requesting an Air Force helicopter for the rescue work. According to a Karnataka State Disaster Management Authority officer, a helicopter has already been put on standby to carry out rescue operations there. Dakshina Kannada and Uttara Kannada are also bearing the brunt of the torrential rains in the region, along with Kodagu, Chikkamagaluru, Shivamogga and Hassan for the past few days. A KSDMA statement said there were no instances of loss to human lives or livestock though as many as 105 villages were affected due to the rains.
The district authorities have set up 36 relief camps where 1,250 people have been put up, it said, adding that NDRF and SDRF have evacuated 4,124 people to safety. It also said that 13 houses were badly or completely damaged while 1,126 suffered partial damage. In North Karnataka, the rains have wreaked havoc in Vijayapura, Raichur, Kalaburagi and Bidar. Bengaluru, Mysuru and Tumakuru have also been receiving heavy rains in the past few days.
In the wake of downpour in Bengaluru, Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa directed Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike administrator Gaurav Gupta to focus attention on low-lying areas and places near stormwater drains. "All BBMP officials have to be ready round-the-clock to meet any exigencies following the torrential rains," the Chief Minister’s Office said in a statement.
A KSNDMC bulletin said heavy rains are likely over the next few days in Bidar, Kalaburagi, Raichur, Vijayapura, Yadgir, Koppal, Belagavi, Bagalkote, Gadag, Dharwad, Haveri and Ballari districts. There would be widespread moderate to heavy rains at most places with isolated very heavy to extremely heavy rains in Shivamogga, Chikkamagaluru, Kodagu and Hassan districts.
Regarding coastal Karnataka, the bulletin said very heavy to extremely heavy rains will take place over Udupi, Dakshina Kannada and Uttara Kannada districts. The latest rains come weeks after several parts of the state were lashed by heavy downpour and relief works were still on. The state government earlier this month declared 130 taluks in 23 districts as flood-affected.
Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa had told a central team that visited the state to assess the damage that Karnataka has suffered a loss of Rs 8,071 crore due to the floods. The state government earlier this month said heavy rainfall since August 1 killed at least 20 people, displaced thousands, damaged more than 10,000 homes and crops in about 4.03 lakh hectares, and wrecked 14,182 km of roads.