Madikeri: With rains subsiding, relief and rehabilitation work have gained momentum in the flood and landslips ravaged Kodagu district.
With operations to rescue those stranded by and large completed, officials said the district administration was now focusing on providing relief and rehabilitation to those at relief camps, clearing blocked roads and restoring power.
The torrential rains that lashed the district last week left a huge trail of destruction, claiming atleast 12 lives and rendering thousands homeless.
With all major roads in Kodagu blocked, a massive rescue operation had been underway for the last couple of days to rescue those stranded in isolated and hilly terrain.
As of Monday, over 4,320 people were rescued and brought to relief centres.
District in-charge Minister Sa Ra Mahesh said, “Till now efforts were on to rescue stranded people safely. Now the work will have to begin on rebuilding their lives.”
He also requested people to generously contribute to the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund so that it can be used to rebuild lives of people who are rendered homeless.
Authorities also decided to use drones to find if anyone was still stranded or missing, and also to assess the damage.
Officials said 41 relief centres in Kodagu and nine in Dakshina Kannada, another flood-hit district, have been set up where 6,620 people are sheltered.
The administration also decided to boost the morale of those who lost all belongings in the natural calamity by enlisting the help of mental health specialists to conduct counselling and talk sessions at relief camps.
Meanwhile, speaking to reporters in Bengaluru, Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy said the rains have subsided in Kodagu and he has asked the district in-charge minister and district Deputy Commissioner to look into certain lapses in relief camps.
He said the administration has been asked to provide protection to houses abandoned by people by deploying home guards, after reports emerged about alleged incidents of theft.
The state government today deputed an Additional Deputy Commissioner to Kodagu district to assist the district administration.
Along with the District in-charge minister and district in-charge Secretary, DGP Fire and Emergency Services,two Additional Director Generals of Police and one Additional Chief Secretary are camping in Kodagu to oversee relief work.
Also, a total of 1,725 specially trained experts from the Karnataka State Reserve Police, National and State Disaster Response Forces, Army, Navy and Air force, NCC, Home guards and District Administration have been deployed in rescue and relief operations.
The Defence department said two Mi-17 helicopters of the Training Command, Indian Air Force, continued to conduct flood relief operations in Kodagu region, operating from Kushalnagar, Periapatna and Harangi.
Helicopters undertook aerial recce and rescue missionsin flood affected areas of Monnangeri and Jodupala to identify the modalities of ground rescue in close coordination with district officials, it said, adding that a close liaison was also being maintained with Karnataka NDRF team for airlift of essential relief supplies to affected areas.
Meanwhile, Karnataka state BJP chief B S Yeddyurappa is expected to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi today to discuss about the situation in Kodagu district.
Former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah along with Pradesh Congress Committee Chief Dinesh Gundu Rao will visit flood affected areas of Kodagu district to assess the situation.
A large amount of relief material from various parts of the state is coming to Kodagu.
With most materials being food items, the administration urged people to also send day-to-day items like plastic buckets, raincoats,sanitary napkins, plastic mats, soaps, shampoo, toothpaste,bedsheets and blankets and inner garments, among other things.