Mansoor Ali, who runs a water supply business, shut shop three days ago and has used his truck to rescue as many people as he can.

In Kodagu this group of citizen volunteers is handling rescue and relief operations
news Rains Friday, August 17, 2018 - 17:36

For three days, Mansoor Ali’s phone has been ringing non-stop. The 29-year-old, who runs a drinking water supply business, stopped working as the rains intensified in Kodagu, and has instead been driving his pick-up truck all around town, trying to rescue as many people are possible.

“I have lost count of the number of people I have helped,” he tells TNM as he fields more calls. “Who can run a water supply business at a time like this?”

Mansoor, or Manchu Bhai as he is fondly called here, has travelled to areas like Makkandur and Mukkodlu, where hundreds of residents are trapped due to rains and landslides.

“About three weeks ago, I started helping people out, but as the situation worsened, I decided to close my business and only focus on rescuing people,” he says, as we drive through the inundated roads.

His phone number has been circulated on WhatsApp and Facebook. “The rains were the worst yesterday...Some people I have never met before began helping me and we tried evacuating as many people as possible,” he says. “The worst is when we know there is nothing we can do. We could see people waving to us from Mukkodlu Hill, but there was no way we could get a vehicle up there. They need to be airlifted.”

Helicopter services need to be pressed into action to rescue the people stuck on hills. The roads leading to these hills are blocked due to the rains or the landslides that followed.

One such call was made from a school in Nandi Motte, around 5 km from Madikeri, at 2 am on Friday morning. "Around 60 people were stuck there, but we could not go there. They later called this morning saying they are safe and are being rescued,” says Mansoor.

Apart from rescuing people, he has also had to provide some degree of counselling to the people who have lost everything to the waters. “People have lost all their earthly possessions and are leaving their homes behind. I have met people who have had to leave behind their family and friends, and have no way of reaching them. God protected me and my family; I want to help others now,” he says.

Mansoor has found companions along the way who are now helping him. Ganesh, 34 years old, a resident of Indira Nagar in Madikeri, began helping Mansoor after his home collapsed in a landslide.

“I lost everything...Now I am trying to help as many people as I can in and around my locality,” says Ganesh.

People in many areas of Madikeri such as Indira Nagar, Chamundeshwari Nagar, Thiagaraj Colony and Dairy Farm are moving to relief camps with the help of the fire and ambulance services, and volunteers like Mansoor.

Several residents in the district have also opened up their homes to those affected, as have owners of homestays and resorts in the area.

"I have a resort near Koppa Junction and I can give shelter to 200 or more  people. We are helping people find shelter,” says Dawood, a resident of Kushalnagar, who owns the Dreams Kingsway resort in the area.

Volunteers have stepped up efforts to provide relief in the three camps opened in Madikeri – near Omkareshwara Temple, General Thimmaiah Public School and Maitreyi Hall. Volunteer groups have been formed by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI).

"A task force was formed some days ago and we are sending teams of 5-6 people to evacuate people from affected places,” says Harish, general secretary of SDPI.

The RSS helped set up a relief camp near Omkareshwara Temple in Madikeri. "We are providing food here and also helping people get to General Thimmaiah Public School, where another camp has been set up,” says Sudheesh, a volunteer for the RSS.

Citizen volunteers have intensified their efforts after the Kodagu District Collectorate asked people to move to safer areas, prompting people to move en masse with their belongings.

"The damage is unlike anything our generation has ever seen,” says Mansoor as more distress calls come in.

For help you can contact:

Kodagu - 08272 221077

Udupi - 0820 2574802

Dakshina Kannada - 0824 2220590

Hassan - 08172 261111

Shivamogga - 08182 225410

Mansoor -  +91 9449990147

Dawood - +91 9945375180

If you have such heartwarming stories to share of people showing courage, love and humanity in such a time of crisis in Karnataka, please write to

Read: Inside relief camps in Madikeri, survivors recount their escape from Kodagu floods

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