Karnataka flood situation eases; toll rises to 48

Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa expressed hope that the situation in flood-ravaged parts of the state would be back to normal in four to six days as the rains have abated.

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Bengaluru: The flood situation in Karnataka eased on Monday with water receding in most of the affected areas following a let up in rains even as the death toll rose to 48 with rescue and relief works gathering pace, officials said.

Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa expressed hope that the situation in flood-ravaged parts of the state would be back to normal in four to six days as the rains that have abated.

With the situation improving, search was on for the missing people and efforts were made to reach out to those who need to be evacuated, officials said.

However, due to release of water from various reservoirs in view of heavy inflow, caution was being maintained in areas surrounding dams, they said adding that work was also on to clear roads that were flooded or blocked due to landslides.

Flood waters of Tungabadra river that had entered the ground level of the UNESCO world heritage site in Hampi, the erstwhile capital of the Vijayanagara kingdom, receded on Monday and there was no damage to the monuments, officials said.

“By God’s grace, since yesterday and day before rains have reduced. There was also fear that there will be heavy rains in Bengaluru. That kind of situation is not to be seen. So by God’s grace there is some relief,” Yediyurappa said. “I expect that the situation will be back to normal in four to six days,” he told reporters here before travelling to Mangaluru.

Yediyurappa on Monday toured flood affected areas of Dakshina Kannada and Mysuru districts and held meetings with officials there. He will vist Shivamogga and neighboring areas on Tuesday. During his visit to Belthangady in Dakshina Kannada district, the Chief Minister announced an assistance of Rs 5 lakh each to those who have lost their houses completely in the floods and landslides to take up the reconstruction work.

Yediyurappa announced Rs 1 lakh to those whose houses have been damaged, and Rs 5,000 monthly to those staying in rental accommodation till their houses are ready.

A total of 2,738 villages in 86 taluks of 17 districts in Karnataka have been affected due to floods and rains. According to official information, the death toll was 48 till Monday evening, while 12 were still missing.

A total of 6,73,559 people have been evacuated and rescued so far, and 1,224 relief camps have been opened where 3,93,956 are taking shelter. While a total of 50,595 animals have been rescued so far, 40,523 houses damaged, and agriculture and horticulture crop loss (preliminary assessment) stands at 4.30 lakh hectares

HD Deve Gowda on Monday requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to release Rs 5,000 crore as interim relief to the state and to notify the floods as a “national calamity.” In a letter to Modi, the JD(S) patriarch said he had not seen such destruction to both human lives and properties in his six decades of political career.

The state government has requested the Centre to immediately release Rs 3,000 crore.

Expressing confidence of cooperation from the Centre in taking up relief measures, Yediyurappa said, “If we total all districts, the loss will be around Rs 40,000 to 50,000 crore. We have requested the Centre to release Rs 3,000 crore immediately. Referring to the tours of the flood-hit areas in north Karnataka by Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in the last few days, he said they had seen the situation. “I am going to Delhi on August 16, so by then if Rs 3,000 crore is released, we can start giving relief to those who have lost houses and others. I’m confident of the Centre’s cooperation,” he added.

Fire and Emergency services, State Disaster Response Force (SDRF), the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and Army personnel are carrying out the rescue and relief operation.

Four choppers of the Indian Air Force and one team of Garuda force (in Kodagu) have been pressed into service.

In an incident, a rescue boat consisting of one fire department personnel, three from civil defence and one from NDRF team capsised in gushing water near Virupapur gadde in Koppal district, but all occupants were rescued. All the five were wearing life jacket and one of them was rescued by an IAF chopper, officials said.