In just three hours, Yelahanka received 138mm of rain and the water from the Yelahanka lake overflowed and flooded the Kendriya Vihar complex next to it.

Residents being evacuated by NDRF teamPTI
news Rains Tuesday, November 23, 2021 - 12:11

“There were floods last week too but it was not so bad. We have not seen waist-level water in the apartment ever, despite heavy rains,” says Ahalya Rao, a 62-year-old resident of Kendriya Vihar, which was flooded after a heavy spell of rain on Sunday. In just three hours, Bengaluru’s Yelahanka received 138 mm of rain. The water from the Yelahanka lake overflowed and flooded the Kendriya Vihar complex next to it.

Since early Monday morning, the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and fire and emergency service personnel have been engaged in evacuating residents who want to leave their apartments. There are hundreds of others who continue to stay back even with the threat of another spell of rain worsening the situation. For those who are stranded, the rescue teams are supplying drinking water, milk, bread and biscuits. Ramana Nanda who lives with his parents as well as teenage daughters says that he has readied their bags to leave for his brother’s house if the water levels increase.

Medical teams from government hospitals nearby have also been accompanying the rescue teams to attend to medical needs of the stranded residents. For senior citizens like Pankaja and Sriram Patil, who live away from their children, these visits by doctors have been reassuring. “Our children are in other cities and feel worried looking at the videos. We both have high blood pressure and sugar. Doctors monitoring us regularly, giving us medicines have helped us immensely,” says Pankaja.

Close to 90 cars and over 200 two-wheelers were seen either completely or partially submerged in the floods. “We have not faced such a situation so we do not know how to deal with the damage to our vehicles. We will have to deal with this once the water abates. Insurance companies have already told us that they will not take responsibility for this,” says Krishna Murthy, who was trying to park his daughter’s moped in a slightly elevated area.

With no electricity supply since Sunday evening, many residents have run out of battery back-up on their laptops and mobile phones, and have been cut off from the outside world. For students who have to venture out to write their exams, tractors from nearby villages and rafts of the NDRF teams have been a silver lining. Joseph K, who was in the same NDRF boat as TNM, said that his daughter had to go in the morning in a boat to the main gate to write her board exams. He was now going till the entrance gate to bring her back.

The BBMP authorities tried blaming the situation on excess rainfall and the fact that the apartment is built in a low-lying area. But the problem is more complicated than that. While water levels have receded since Monday afternoon, the challenge is that there is no scope for water to be pumped out. The Yelahanka Lake is connected with several other lakes in the city like the Allalasandra, Puttenahalli and Amani lakes, and heavy rainfall in catchment areas in all these places will bring the excess water to Yelahanka lake, which is what happened on Sunday. The water then flooded into the Kendriya Vihar apartment.

On the other side, the raja kaluve, the storm water drain nearby, has been bringing rain water into the complex instead of draining out as it should. There are several blockages in the stormwater drain -- some because of debris being dumped and a few others because of faulty construction -- and this has turned the drain into a water inlet channel instead of an outlet, allege residents. A combination of heavy rain, civic apathy and not being prepared ahead of time has resulted in close to 3,000 residents not being able to get out of their homes.

All major dams are nearing full capacity, while 54 localities in the city are waterlogged throwing normal life out of gear as heavy rains continued to batter Karnataka on Monday. Several apartments were inundated after Singapura Lake, situated over 66 acres, breached that morning. The government has deputed relief teams, including police departments, to take up emergency measures.

Yelahanka locality in Bengaluru is the worst affected with 45 places being waterlogged. Many houses and apartments in Mahadevapura, Vidyaranyapuram, Allalasandra and Rajarajeshwarinagar localities are also submerged.

Yelahanka-Chikkaballapur Road, Bengaluru-Doddaballapur roads are also inundated with water causing severe inconvenience to vehicle riders.

(With agency inputs)

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