If an ‘unusual rain event’ takes place, there could be danger of more lives being lost due to flooding
The quantum of rainfall in Karnataka has reduced and the flood waters have receded considerably in both North Karnataka and Southern Karnataka. But, officials appear to be keeping their fingers crossed for the next 36 hours.
One of the primary reasons for this is that the inflows into the reservoirs in North Karnataka continue to be on the higher side though it has reduced as compared to last week when heavy inflows inundated Belagavi and Bagalkote district causing unprecedented damage to crops and people.
“Even now, Krishna waters are flowing five to six feet above the normal levels. We need to keep some cushion in case there is a sudden burst of rainfall leading to heavy inflow into the reservoirs. This is why in most reservoirs, the next 36 hours will be crucial,” said a senior official of the water resources department.
Last week, the ‘unusual rainfall event’ had led to the Krishna waters in Maharashta gushing into the Karnataka districts of Belagavi and Bagalkote after inundating its own Sangli and Kolhapur districts. It also led to the record amount of water being released from the Almatti and Narayanpur dams.
And, at one point, even threatened to cause a flood in the Hyderabad-Karnataka districts of Gulbarga, Yadgir and Raichur with the rising levels of the Malaprabha, Bhima and Tungabhadra rivers.
The enhanced rainfall, which was seen as a revival of the south west monsoon, also created havoc in the coastal districts of Dakshina Kannada and Uttara Kannada and, last year’s most affected district, Kodagu in southern Karnataka.
This has resulted in the latest death toll going up to 48 with 12 persons missing. A record number of 6.75 lakh people have been evacuated out of which 3.93 lakh people are housed in 1,224 relief camps and over 40,000 houses have been damaged. About 86 taluks in 17 districts have been affected, according to the disaster management centre.
The major cause of the havoc in the Malnad districts of Chikkamgaluru and Shivamogga, Coastal districts of Dakshina Kannada and Uttara Kannada and Kodagu has been the large number of landslides or land slips. Connectivity to 136 district, state and national highways has been disrupted due to the floods and landslides.
The forecast for the next five days is that a district like Belgavi is expected to receive isolated with light to moderate rains for the next five days. The Coastal and Malnad region is likely to receive widespread with moderate rains. And, heavy rains are predicted in some isolated places.
Despite this prediction, officials are not prepared to take any chances after the major havoc of last week. Initial estimates by the state government were that it would require Rs 6000 crores but it has been revised to Rs 20-30,000 crore.
Amidst all this havoc came the story from the Defence PRO, Bengaluru, that a unit of the Maratha Light Infantry, stationed at Belgavi, had been invited by the villagers of Shirgur in Raibag taluk of Belgavi, to join the devout who prayed for the soldiers for rescuing over 100 people from their village.
“They prayed for them and later served them biriyani and sweet seviyan,” according to the office of the defence PRO.