Today's Paper

Inadequacies dog relief camps

Dissatisfied: Flood-affected people at Pathepur village in Raichur taluk complaining of lack of relief and other assistance on Saturday.  

Karnataka Bureau

479 camps opened in State to care for 1.23 lakh displaced people

GULBARGA/HUBLI/RAICHUR/BELLARY: In the wake of a huge number of people rendered homeless owing to floods in different districts of the State, the focus has shifted to relief operations, with 479 relief camps being set up to provide shelter to 1.23 lakh people.

However, the conditions in a large number of relief camps were pathetic owing to lack of basic amenities, apart from shortage of food, drinking water and blankets. The problems of road connectivity, inclement weather and alleged incoordination also affected relief operations.

Such was the sorry state of affairs in a relief camp in Gulbarga district that a few women, who had given birth only a few days ago, and those in advanced stages of pregnancy had not been given blankets and were made to sit on damp floors.

A visit to some of the camps in Jewargi and Surpur taluks, which are the worst hit in the floods caused by the Krishna, the Bhima and their tributaries revealed the pathetic conditions in the camps with people in distress being made to wait endlessly for officials to provide them basic requirements.

Sangeeta, who had given birth to a girl just four days ago, said: “I am suffering from fever and cold… medical treatment is not available at the camp”.

“We were bundled into a tractor trailer like goats and dumped in this school, and were made to wait for more than five hours for our lunch which was served only at 4.30 p.m.,” said Mallamma Subash, who along with her three children had to flee from her house in Chikka Jewargi following flash floods that marooned the village.

Narayan Poojari, who was evacuated from his house that was surrounded by floodwaters from the Krishna in Thinthani village, said, “I have lost everything in my house in the floods and I do not have a second set of clothes to change into.” He also said he had not been given even a blanket or a towel by the authorities.

In a relief camp in Navalgund of Hubli, women and children were competing with one another to get hold of jowar rotis sent by a local councillor. The inmates were anguished over the failure of the authorities to provide food to all.

In some other places including Bellary, food packets were distributed through boats while helicopters were pressed into service to drop food packets in other areas. But inclement weather affected the movement of helicopters in several villages.

“Food has not been supplied to the people in flood-affected villages such as Kudadarhal, Bagwadi, Sridhargadda, Kothalachinta, Matur (in Bellary district) since Thursday. Food packets were yet to reach them even by 2 p.m. on Saturday,” M. Shankar Reddy, the former Siruguppa MLA alleged.

Pathepur, a remote village in Raichur taluk, is one among the worst-hit regions in Raichur district. A majority of people here belong to the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes.

Nearly 100 dwellings, most of them huts, in the village, have been washed away.

However, the district administration is yet to come to the rescue of the residents.

Chand Pasha, member of the Pathepur Gram Panchayat, told The Hindu that residents of the village had complained that six persons, including three girls, went missing during the floods. So far, no officials or elected representatives had visited the village, he added.