Bengaluru: Even as Kerala battles its heaviest deluge in nearly a century, torrential rain have caused huge damage to life and property in neighbouring Karnataka.
Rains have ravaged the hill districts, called ‘Malnad’ region, and coastal areas, throwing normal life out of gear. The situation is grim at many places in Kodagu, Hassan, Chickmagalur, Shimoga, Dakshina Kannada, Udupi and Uttara Kannada districts.
Kodagu, the southern-most district in the Malnad region and the Coffee Bowl of India, bore the brunt of the heaviest rain recent years. The Cauvery and its tributaries are overflowing, inundating many villages and towns in the tiny district. The districts main produce coffee has been severely affected by the rain, damaging almost 50% of the crops which may cripple the economy next harvest season.
The rain caused huge damage to roads and bridges, cutting off the link with rest of the state. Several houses have been completely damaged and the local authorities are yet to reach many worst affected areas.
Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy, who reviewed the grim situation across Malnad and the coastal districts, has released an initial amount of Rs 200 crore for the immediate rescue and relief work. He will be conducting an aerial survey of Kodagu district on Saturday.
The Indian Air Force has already sent helicopters for the rescue works. There are reports of people still stuck in the rain at many places and the government is trying to reach out to them.
Several private organizations have opened helplines and relief material collection centres in Bengaluru and other parts. Tourism has been severely affected by the unprecedented rain in Kodagu and Chickmagalur districts.
The situation is getting worse in Hassan, Chickmagalur, Shimoga and Dakshina Kannada districts as the rain shows no signs of relenting.
The heaviest rain in decades has caused a huge damage to cash crops like areca, pepper, cardamom, coffee, tea and vanilla crops in the Malnad region.
Road links have been cut off at many places across Malnad region. Train service has been suspended between Bengaluru and Mangalore due to landslides in the Western Ghats.
There are 14 Ghat roads that connect coastal Karnataka to rest of the state via Malnad which is spread over 650 km from south to north of the state. Ten Ghats, including major ones like Shiradi, Charmadi, Agumbe, Hulikal, Kollur, Kogar and Arabail, have been fully or partially closed due to heavy rain and landslides.
The major rivers which originate in the Malnad are in a spate and all reservoirs have reached the maximum storage capacity. Gates of dams like Linganamakki, Tunga, Bhadra, Hemavathi, Harangi, Kabini and KRS have been opened for weeks.
More than 75 people have been killed since the arrival of monsoon in the last week of May in Karnataka. The exact damage to life and property can be assessed only after the rain lets up.