Flood situation worsens in Karnataka; death toll goes up to 12

Bengaluru: The flood situation in Karnataka worsened in Karnataka on Friday with no let up in the rains as the authorities battled to reach out to the needy in the state, where the toll went up to 12, with thousands of people being affected.

More rain has been forecast in the State, already reeling under the floods and heavy downpour in North, coastal and Malnad regions continuing to pile up misery on the people with the situation still remaining grim.

“So far 12 persons have died (in flood related incidents), Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa, who has camped in flood-ravaged north Karnataka, told reporters in Bagalkote. The Chief Minister also announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh each to the families of those killed due to flood and rain-related incidents in the State.

As an instant relief, the finance department released Rs 100 crore towards flood relief. At least four members of a family were killed and one person is missing when a house on a foothill collapsed due to landslip in the hillock at Korangaala in Bhagamandala, the catchment area of the Cauvery river in Kodagu district, police said.

The police added that the rescuers brought out four bodies, while a search was on for the fifth person. Officials said 80,000 more people from flood-hit and rain-affected areas in Karnataka have been evacuated.

Joint rescue teams, comprising personnel from the Fire and Emergency Department, State Disaster Response Force, National Disaster Response Force and Army have evacuated 1,24,291 people so far, an official statement said Friday.

The cumulative figure for yesterday was 43,858. In Belagavi district, the worst-hit by the floods, six people have lost their lives, while 1,410 kms of road and 4,019 government buildings have been damaged. As on 8 am on Friday, 3.91 lakh cusecs (of water) is reaching Belagavi border from Maharashtra, the statement said.

A video too emerged showing two motorcycle borne youth being swept away when the temporary clay made bridge they were crossing gave way, reportedly at Korangaala in Kodagu district. The State has also roped in four helicopters for relief work, said the Chief Minister, adding that these choppers have airlifted 71 people and provided food and medical assistance to those marooned in different parts of the State.

Almost all rivers in Karnataka are in spate, including the Krishna, Cauvery, Bhadravati, Hemavati, Thungabadra and Kabini, affecting thousands of people. In addition to Belagavi, the affected districts include Bagaklote, Vijayapura, Raichur, Yadgir, Gadag, Uttara Kannada, Haveri, Hubballi-Dharwad, Dakshina Kannada, Chikkamagaluru, and Kodagu.

Former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda has pressed Prime Minister Narendra Modi to declare the flood situation in Karnataka as a national disaster of severe nature and provide additional support. Gowda tweeted, “The flood situation in Karnataka has worsened. I strongly urge PMO India to declare the floods in Karnataka as National Disaster of severe nature and extend additional support at the earliest.”

Meanwhile in Gadag, some flood-affected people tried to lay siege to the Chief Minister’s cavalcade, alleging inadequate measures to deal with the flood. Police made a mild baton charge to disperse them.

Due to the continuous flood situation, the South Western Railway cancelled 15 trains and diverted four of them. The Railways too chipped in to provide relief to the flood hit people. It turned the entire Hole Alur Railway station in Gadag district into a temporary relief shelter.

A Railway Public Relations Officer said “The Railway station has been converted into a relief centre and we are providing food and relief material from Sholapur. The entire Hole Alur is inundated,” he said.

Yediyurappa said Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh have been briefed on the rescue and relief efforts in Karnataka. “Definitely not,” he responded when asked if he “felt lonely” in dealing with the flood and rain situation as he is running a one-man Ministry.

Yediyurappa, who was sworn in as Chief Minister on 26 July, but is yet to expand his Cabinet, said legislators and MPs are supporting him and giving him strength, adding, they were working hard in relief efforts.

Meanwhile, former Chief Minister and JDS leader H D Kumaraswamy announced that all legislators of his party would donate one month’s salary for relief works in north Karnataka, which is reeling under the floods.

Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee President Dinesh Gundu Rao has requested the Prime Minister to declare the flood situation in Karnataka as a national calamity and release Rs 5,000 crore special grant immediately.