Kodagu: Battling nature’s fury for two years in a row

In action: For the people of flood-hit region, the presence of rescue personnel has infused a strong sense of security.

In action: For the people of flood-hit region, the presence of rescue personnel has infused a strong sense of security.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Rescue prersonnel tread treacherous terrain in flood-affected Kodagu

Wading through slush, climbing slippery slopes, and battling inclement weather from dawn to night without respite is a matter of routine for the rescue teams stationed in the flood-affected Kodagu.

Rain may have abated but the search for missing persons continued at Thora village late on Wednesday as well, when the rescue teams recovered a body of a person buried in the mud.

The teams include three units of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), a column of the Indian Army, and Garuda — the State Commando team under the Centre for Counter Terrorism, apart from personnel of the Fire and Emergency Services, Civil Defence Quick Response Team, KSRP, and the local police, and hundreds of volunteers. For them it is the second consecutive year of battling a natural calamity in the district.

Thora, the toughest

A senior member of the Garuda team who was part of the mission said Thora was the worst affected this year and was comparable to Jodupala in 2018 in terms of the treacherous nature of the terrain. “There were other places too in Kodagu where people were affected by the overflowing river. But in terms of landslips and mud, Thora reminded one of Jodupala,” said the official. He said it was an impossible situation with a river of mud flowing down the hills and one was not sure if the ground beneath the feet was stable.

The team camped at a place nearly a kilometre away from the main road on sighting a few shreds of clothes and other signs of human habitation, which was otherwise obliterated. “Based on the assessment of the ground situation, we zeroed in on a specific point to dig out the mud and found the buried body,” said the Garuda force member.

The trek back was equally dangerous as they had to carry the body on a stretcher for nearly a kilometre in a terrain where their legs would sink knee deep in mud. They made it back to the base camp late in the night. This was just one of the many missions undertaken during the week when Kodagu was inundated.

For the people of the region, the presence of rescue personnel in their orange outfit — as in the case of the NDRF — has infused a strong sense of security. The Kodagu district administration had ensured the deployment of rescue teams and conducted a few rescue drills before the advent of the southwest monsoon in June. As the first signs of the unfolding crisis emerged, with water rising owing to heavy rain, the rescue teams swung into action to evacuate people to safety.

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Printable version | Feb 21, 2020 2:16:01 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/battling-natures-fury-for-two-years-in-a-row/article29103616.ece

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