Hands reach out to get whatever relief material that comes their way... dozens of families mill around an ‘Akshaya Patra’ vehicle carrying “Puliogere” (cooked rice mixed with tasty masalas), which will do the rounds again in the evening, carrying more food packets.
But residents of Kuruvakala village in this district have lost out on everything. A week ago, the swollen Krishna River submerged the hamlet, forcing people atop a temple, where they stayed for the next few days, surviving on food packets dropped by relief helicopters 48 hours later.
“We are only left with the clothes we wearing,” says Rangappa tears welling up in his eyes. “We lost everything ...stocked foodgrains...,” he added at a makeshift relief camp in a nearby school.
Women plead with folded hands: “Do something for us. We are in dire straits. We badly need houses to live in.”
Things are no different in neighbouring Boordipada and Athkooru villages. As people describe how they survived days of heavy rains, coupled with flooding by Krishna and Tungabhadra rivers in parts of the district, their eyes light up and they thank their starts that they are alive.
There are tales galore of “great escapes”. Near Boordipada on the banks of Krishna River, bordering Andhra Pradesh, 45 people from that state spent two days on a tree, stranded by flash floods.
“From treetops, they waved to us to rescue them. We could do nothing for two days as the water was so high,” said police official Hanumatha Naik.
“We gave them food and took care of them before sending them”, Naik said.
In Athkooru village, Shivappa is angry that no politician turned up to see what residents were doing in their hour of crisis. It was materials sent by NGOs, voluntary organisations and Mutts that helped them tide over the crisis.
Some villages are still marooned in the district, the worst hit in the state in the rains and flash floods that took the administration by the surprise. “Its Mutts and concerned individuals who are helping us now, says 35-year-old Mallesh.
People in many villages just fled their homes as flash floods posed a serious threat. Now the floors are full of mud and some houses are on the verge of collapse.
Thirty three lives have been lost in the district, more than 30,000 houses have either collapsed or been damaged.
Total cross loss is estimated as Rs 500 crore and damage to roads and bridges has been pegged at Rs 420 crore and other loss in tune of Rs 1,140 crore, as per preliminary reports.
The 30-year-old bridge across Thungabhadra river, a vital road link to Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu from this region, was washed away, and rail tracks of over one km metres damaged in Chikkasagur in the district.
Scenes in Talamari village are disturbing. Houses have collapsed in large numbers and the village submerged in waters for three days with no relief reaching them.
When relief finally arrived, they had lost their cool and officials were at the receiving end. Some were reportedly roughed up and vehicles set ablaze.