As the hilly district of Kodagu in Karnataka slowly limps back to normalcy after a week of incessant rains in addition to an already copious monsoon since June, the district administration informed that the death toll now stood at 20.
On Saturday afternoon, three more bodies were discovered.
“We have rescued all the people who were stranded earlier and we are running 32 rehabilitation centres as of today, where more than 3,000 people are staying,” Satish Kumar, Additional District Collector told TNM.
“We are advising people not to return to their homes if they are in vulnerable areas. We are giving them an alternative place where they can temporarily reside. We are taking help from specialists to identify locations where there is danger, keeping in mind of future incidence of heavy rainfall,” he added.
With rains abating in the last few days, many people have returned to their homes.
“The situation in Kodagu district is coming to normalcy, the number of people in relief centres has also been reducing because people are going back home,” Gangaram, principal secretary, Disaster Management Department, said.
As of Sunday, 1,019 rescuers from various agencies stationed in Kodagu are screening villages.
Earlier on Thursday, Karnataka CM HD Kumaraswamy has sought Rs 2,000 crore “interim relief” from the Centre for relief and rehabilitation purposes.
In a letter addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Chief Minister said that the rains which had lashed the district from August 14-22 had damaged 2,200 houses and 7,500 people had been given shelter in relief camps. He also highlighted the large-scale destruction the natural calamity had caused to crops, coffee plantations, spices and arecanut plantations across the tourist hotspot.
The heavy rains that lashed central Karnataka began on August 12, also triggering massive landslides in Kodagu district. Whole villages have been damaged, roads have been swept off and several homes destroyed in landslides.
On Friday, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman visited the flood-hit Kodagu district and assured the people of the Indian Army’s help in rebuilding the region’s roads. Her visit also led to a political slugfest when she got involved in a public spat with Kodagu-in-charge Minister Sa Ra Mahesh.