Motorists going to Dimili and other villages were in for a shock on Friday, as the only approach road had been washed away and there was a new stream in full flow!
A tributary of the Sarada, flowing along the road, not only changed its course on Saturday last following heavy inflows due to heavy rains in the catchment area but also washed the road and the earth away, creating a five-foot-deep channel.
Coconut trees were uprooted by the force of the flood, which left more than half-a-dozen villages of Rambilli mandal, including Dimili, Kattubolu, Murakada, Chinapalem, Marripalem, Kommarapalli, Teruvupalli, and Rajala, cut off from the rest of the world.
Residents had to wade through neck-deep gushing waters of the new stream to reach to safety. Work was on to stem the flow using sandbags, while workers were wading through the water carrying relief material.
“This is the first time that the stream has changed its course. Nobody alive remembers a flood of this magnitude,” Jakka Venkata Rao, an RMP doctor of Dimili, told The Hindu.
“Food packets are being air dropped in the cut off villages, but most of them are going waste as they are falling in the slush,” he added.
“Though the administration is supplying rice, it is of little use as we lost cooking vessels in the flood and we are in no position to go anywhere to buy replacements. Further, engineering students studying at Payakaraopeta and Anakapalle are unable to attend college and Brandix employees living in these villages have also stopped going for work,” he said.
Paddy crop has started rotting and the stench can be smelt from a distance, raising fears of outbreak of diseases.
“In all, 20,000 people are living in these villages and there is no way for women and senior citizens to get out of the villages. It’s all the more difficult to carry sick persons across the stream,” said M. Nookaraju, another villager of Dimili.
While some of the corporates and NGOs were willing to step in to provide relief, some vested interests were not allowing them, he lamented.