As rains continue to lash down on Kodagu, another major problem looms ahead: both ATMs and petrol pumps are starting to run dry in the region. Serpentine queues can be seen stretching in front of both as people desperately line up to stock up on money and fuel.
Connectivity too is a major problem as landslides in the area have buried several roads. Since vehicles cannot access many places now, people can be seen walking for kilometres on an end to buy basic necessities.
“Mobile networks are also down,” said Dakshina Kannada Deputy Commissioner Sasikanth Senthil. “So people are unable to contact their relatives or the police for help. And this is hampering rescue and relief operations.”
Rains have been lashing down on Kodagu for a week now, and show no sign of letting up. Thousands of people have been evacuated and moved to relief camps, but thousands more are still isolated and are waiting to be rescued. Helicopters reached the region of Saturday morning, and began airlifting those trapped in the incessant rains.
The district has witnessed several landslides, and at least 10 people are dead so far due to the rains and rain-related tragedies.
On Friday evening, a landslide wrecked Jodupala, trapping over 200 people. The landslide caused the bridge connecting it to Sampaje to collapse, hampering rescue operations.
But the NDRF team were able to bring boats with them and they rescued nearly 200 people from the village.
“The NDRF team ferried people on 10 boats within an hour,” said Kodagu Additional Commissioner Kumara.
According to the Dakshina Kannada district administration, the Managaluru-Madikeri Road has been blocked, making it difficult for people in Jodupala to move out of the place.
A team of 30 NDRF personnel were also deployed in Sullia – which is also ravaged by rains and landslides – for rescue efforts.
The victims were taken to relief camps in Tekkila and Sampaje. Three camps were set for the purpose. In Puttur, major road caved in at Kollamajil panchayat limits due to heavy rains. Traffic came to a standstill at Kallapu in Ullal where a coconut tree fell on the electricity pole and caused it to collapse on the road.
As the Netravati River continues to swell, 539 people from 101 houses on the banks of the river in Dakshina Kannada were moved to safety on Friday.
In light of the heavy rains, the Election Commission has postponed the Kodagu panchayat elections until further notice.
The district disaster management bulletin on Friday warned of heavy rains in parts of the district over the weekend.
The coastal and south interior parts of Karnataka have been receiving incessant rainfall since the start of the week. Compared to previous years, the rainfall in Kodagu was 175% more than usual, 63% more in Udupi, 117% in Shivamogga, 180% in Chikkamagaluru, 130% in Hassan and 81% in Uttara Kannada districts.
(With inputs from Theja Ram)