As torrential rains throw life out of gear in the coastal districts of Karnataka, several people in Dakshina Kannada have taken to social media to share traffic and weather updates, phone numbers of relief agencies and other helplines.
With the hashtags #Staysafekudla #Mangalorerains trending, many people threw their doors open and offered to share their rations and food with complete strangers, all via social media.
Life in the coastal regions of Karnataka ground to a halt on Tuesday as Cyclone Mekunu hit the districts, inundating several areas. Many residents said they hadn’t seen rains like this in several decades.
'Mekunu has hit Coastal Karnataka and Mangalore is flooded. We are concerned. If anyone needs shelter, we are a call away. @onyxairlounge. Issued in public interest,' read one widely shared post.
“We saw people, especially two-wheeler riders, stranded on the road without shelter. Hence, we decided to open our restaurant’s doors to anyone in need. Within an hour of us posting the invitation, around 25 people came here to stay dry and safe,”Umesh, the manager of Onyx, tells TNM.
Samsun S Sequeira, a resident in Mangaluru, is one of the coordinators on WhatsApp and Facebook to help those people stuck on MG Road come back to safety. "Since roads are inundated and several motorists are stuck, residents have come forward, opening the doors of their houses as safe havens. We are coordinating between the residents and those stuck. Many have said they have food and first aid available in their houses,” he says.
A helpline number set up by RSS and BJP workers in the district, offering any kind of assistance to those affected by the rains in Mangaluru, was also doing rounds. Newly elected MLA of Mangalore South, Vedvyas Kamath, has posted the numbers of BJP and RSS offices for rain victims.
Sudhir Shetty, a resident of Pumpwell, took to social media to invite people to his house. “I heard the situation is very bad in Pumpwell. I have shared my number and anyone is free to walk into my house for shelter and food,” he said.
Zamzeer Ahmed, founder of GoodFoodMangalore, a social media platform that connects over 31,000 foodies in the city, is using his page to connect with those stuck in the rains to good Samaritans. The thread ‘let’s get united foodies’ on his page has details of restaurants which are opening their doors to affected people.
Meanwhile, locals have proactively joined the search and rescue efforts. The emergency services were seen deploying a boat to ferry children of a local school near Alake back home.
However, many also slammed the government calling the water-logged roads a civic failure. “The Mangaluru City Corporation has concretised roads with little or no planning. If there isn’t any drainage, where will the water go? Road infrastructure is an absolute mess, and the fact that Mangaluru’s arterial roads are clogged is an example of this,” says Ashok L, a civic activist.
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