The incessant rainfall and landslides across Karnataka's Kodagu district had left many residents stranded. For two days, the rescue teams have been trying to bring the people back to safety but the bad weather has hampered their efforts. Finally, on Saturday, around 3,000 people were rescued by the District Disaster Management teams, NDRF personnel and the Additional Fire Force deployed in the area.
According to the officials in the district administration, despite valiant efforts by the rescue personnel, many people are still stranded in Mukkodlu. All roads to Mukkodlu were shut after multiple landslides and a few people in the village are yet to be evacuated.
162 people were rescued from Mukkodlu after the Dogra regiment approached the hill via Iggodlu estate. 74 more people were rescued from Hattihole and Mukkodlu from the other side of the village. Around 30-40 people, who were at Valley Dew Homestay were unable to be rescued as landslides occurred during the operations.
Over 500 people, who had trekked up Doddakunda Betta on Thursday from surrounding villages due to landslides and incessant flooding are still perched on the hilltop for the third consecutive day. "Airlifting was not possible because of heavy mist. However, there was a brief period when the sun had come up today (Saturday). Over 50 people who were on Ktao Betta were rescued," the official added.
In Madikeri, 10 houses in Chamnundeshwarinagar and Dairy Farm collapsed due to a landslide resulting in widespread panic among residents who assumed that there was an earthquake. The district administration immediately stepped in and dispelled their fears. Residents have been sent to relief camps.
In Kandanakolli village in Madikeri, many are feared missing following massive landslides in the region. Rescue teams are on their way.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy took stock of the situation after visiting Mysuru and Kodagu on Saturday and promised quick relief to all those who were stranded.
"Rains have been causing massive damage in Kodagu. The state officials, along with Indian Army troops, Navy divers are carrying out rescue and relief operations on a war-footing," Kumaraswamy told reporters here. He also added that they hope to rescue those stranded by Saturday, or latest by Sunday.
Kodagu is one of the districts in the southern state worst hit by the south-west monsoon rains since June first week.
The landslides and heavy rain have claimed six lives in the district since Thursday, the Chief Minister's Office (CMO) said.
According to the Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Centre (KSNDMC), the district received a maximum rainfall of up to 25.3 cm and an average rainfall of 11.9 cm over the past 24 hours.
Located in the Western Ghats mountain ranges, the incessant rain has been causing landslips across the region, making rescue operations difficult.
Telecom services have been disrupted due to the rain and strong winds uprooting poles and snapping phone lines, are being restored on priority, Kumaraswamy said.
"About 60 Dogra Regiment soldiers and 12 expert naval divers rescued 873 marooned people in the flood-hit district, where overnight heavy rain caused landslides and inundated low-lying areas at Makkanduru," a statement from the CMO said on Friday night.
About 60 members of the national and state disaster relief forces and 45 members of the civil defence joined the rescue and relief operations with boats and equipment in Madikeri in the hilly district.
Kumaraswamy has also requested Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to deploy additional military forces in Kodagu for rescue operations.
So far, the district administration has housed rescued people in 17 relief camps. Schools and colleges have remained closed in the affected areas of Kodagu, Udupi, Dakshina Kannada, Chikkamagaluru and Hassan districts due to the rains.
The South Western Railway (SWR) has cancelled its train services from Bengaluru towards Kannur and Ernakulam in flood-hit Kerala due to landslips and flooding.
State-run Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) has also suspended several of its inter-state and intra-state bus services towards Kerala, owing to the flooded roads.
The Bengaluru division of the India Meteorological Department (IMD) predicts that heavy rain will continue over the next two days in the coastal and south interior districts of the state, including Kodagu.