D.Chandra Bhaskar Rao

Relief proved to be beyond the reach of children and the elderly not to speak of the handicapped

BHADRACHALAM: Kothulagutta is the ultimate flood-time destination for the residents of Kunavaram, a village with a population of 5,000 at the confluence point of the Godavari and Sabari. It was the first village to be inundated as the flood level in the river crossed 60 feet at the temple town.

Hundreds of families made a beeline to the hillock wading through floodwater around midnight on August 5 last. Some preferred to stay upstairs for a day or two. But as the flood level went on rising steadily, they too were forced to join the relief camp.

The crowd started swelling as the people from neighbouring villages - Tekulaboru and Bhimavaram also started thronging the camp. The facilities proved to be inadequate. The food packets and milk packets being airdropped for the past four days were going into the hands of those who could `run and snatch.'

Drinking water crunch

The relief proved to be beyond the reach of children and the elderly not to speak of the handicapped. There is no drinking water. A lone hand pump in working condition near the camp proved to be insufficient to quench the thirst of many. Many children have been drinking the floodwater that has surrounded the camp.

A nine-year-old schoolgirl, Yedla Veeramani, ailing at the camp right from day one, died in the camp on August 7. She was attended to by a team of doctors camping in the relief centre, but to no avail. They failed to shift her to Bhadrachalam as her condition worsened at midnight.

Doctors on high alert

Durga, a girl from Government Junior College was also, among those taken ill at the camp. The doctors are on high alert today visiting every patient at the camp from time to time. The girl is sad because she had lost her text-books in the flood. All that she could collect free of cost at the camp so far was a `glass of kerosene' to light the lantern.

Families who could salvage one or two cooking utensils from the flood are given two kg of rice a day. Those who do not have any were being served cooked food.