Voluntary effort comes to the fore in relief operations

August 19, 2018 11:35 pm | Updated 11:35 pm IST - Suntikoppa (Kodagu district)

 Volunteers supplying food to displaced people, at a relief centre in Madapura on Sunday.

Volunteers supplying food to displaced people, at a relief centre in Madapura on Sunday.

The devastation across Kodagu has spanned a number of voluntary initiatives to supplement the government’s relief efforts to cope with the disaster..

A case in point is the town of Suntikoppa about 16 km from Kushalnagar.

There are three relief camps, at Srirama Temple, St. Anthony’s School and the local madrassa, and nearly 1,000 people are being provided temporary succour and this is all a voluntary initiative.

“Most people who have been rendered homeless are from Mukkodlu, Makkandur, Tanthipala, Hattihole and Kandanakolli. We have enough provisions to last for another 10 days and this is all private contribution,” said Shantharam Kamath, one of the coordinators of the relief effort. He said that when the news first came out of landslips on August 16, local youth rushed in jeeps to rescue villagers.

“Some risked their lives and trekked into the interior areas to rescue those stranded amidst floods,” said Mr. Kamath.

Bopanna, a local resident coordinating another relief camp close to Iggodlu near Madapura, said: “We had about 500 people on the first two days, but some have left to join their relatives. The rooms are stuffed thanks to the public and there is no problem regarding food or drinking water. What matters most is permanent rehabilitation and that is the real challenge.”

Besides, there is no count of the private homestays offering lodging to victims as evident by messages on social media.

“We ran for our life and there is nothing left to in our villages to look forward to,” said Parvathi at the camp near Iggodlu.

Most appear dazed from the trauma and a doctor from Hassan volunteering at the camp said many were psychologically distressed.

Meanwhile, the question haunting the relief volunteers is the future of those displaced from their villages and how they would be rehabilitated.

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