Flood-hit north Karnataka had some respite from heavy rains and further havoc Sunday even as the death toll mounted to 170, officials said here. The state has, meanwhile, intensified rescue and relief operations in the worst-hit districts.
“There is respite from rains and further flooding in north Karnataka since the last 12 hours while coastal and central parts of the state continue to receive moderate to heavy rains,” H.V. Parashwanath, state drought management authority secretary, told IANS.
The state government has intensified relief and rehab works in the 10 worst-affected districts of the region to provide succour and shelter to thousands of people, who were forced to flee their villages and towns due to the flash floods that left a trail of death and destruction.
“About 177,500 people are being sheltered and fed at 598 rehab centres opened across the affected districts. Many others stranded in villages and smaller towns due to flood waters and damage to road links have been shifted to school buildings and community halls,” Parashwanath said.
With rainfall decreasing since Saturday in an overcast region, water levels have also started receding in the flooded areas. But severe damage to roads, bridges and state/national highways is hampering supplies and rehabilitation works.
“We have air-dropped about 20,000 food packets in the last 12 hours in the marooned villages of Bijapur, Bagalkot, Bellary, Koppal, Raichur and Gulbarga districts as the affected people remained cut—off,” Parashwanath said.
About 100 members of the Pune-based disaster recovery task force have been working in six districts to search and rescue people from remote and inaccessible areas using 40 boats.
Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa, who is surveying the entire region by air and on road since late Friday, estimated the loss in terms of life, agriculture produce and property at about Rs.100 billion (Rs.10,000 crore) due to excessive rains and flash floods since Sep 29-30.
Hoping that the worst was over as far as rains and floods were concerned, Parashwanath said the state irrigation department continued to discharge water from dams and reservoirs in the catchment areas of the region due to heavy inflows from upstream in the Krishna river basin from Maharashtra.
“Thousands of cusecs of water is being released from Almatti dam in Bagalkot district, Tungabhadra dam near Hospet in Bellary district and Narayanpura in Gulbarga district to prevent overflowing and breaches,” the official added.