With rains relenting, the flood situation in northern and coastal regions of Karnataka that claimed 168 lives, improved considerably on Monday.

The administration heaved a sigh of relief after the rains subsided last evening. “Death toll appears to have stabilised,” a Revenue Department official said.

About 1.78 crore people in 15 districts have been affected by the torrential rains triggered by cyclonic weather conditions.

Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa said the damage to crop and public and private property has been unprecedented and would exceed Rs 20,000 crore.

Considering the magnitude of the tragedy and enormous damage to infrastructure and property, he has urged the Centre to term the devastation as a ‘National Calamity’ and release relief under National Calamity Contingency Fund (NCCF) to the extent of Rs 10,000 crore.

More than two lakh houses in 15 districts have either collapsed or damaged. Agricultural crops in these districts have been completely lost and the road network and power installation have been badly damaged. The damage assessment is under progress, officials said.

Karnataka Government has appealed to the philanthropic public, including industrialists and businessmen, to donate liberally to undertake rescue and relief operations.

“Rescue and relief operations of such a gigantic scale cannot be complete and comprehensive without the cooperation of members of the public and the assistance of philanthropic public”, Home Minister V S Acharya said.

Personnel and equipment from National Disaster Response Force as well as IAF helicopters have evacuated marooned families. Defence personnel have dropped relief materials to affected people besides moving people to safety.

Army had been providing rations in some areas.

The Indian Air Force pressed into service an AN 32 aircraft from Hyderabad which ferried relief materials and three more such aircraft from Central Air Command, Agra, which did several sorties.

A Dornier from Training Command Bangalore carried relief material besides two Avros flew from South Western Air Command, Baroda carrying 15 boats. Six Mi 8 choppers flew over Hubli, Belgaum and Raichur from Yelahanka and dropped tonnes of relief material during several sorties.

Two Chetak helicopters from Chennai Tambaram airbase flew over Badami, Raichur and dropped tonnes of relief material, while five more Chetaks from Hyderabad flew 35 sorties dropping about eight tonnes of relief material, officials said.

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