Madikeri: Batches of people are slowly leaving relief centres in Kodagu to face massive destruction that was brought by catastrophic flooding and landslides. Tales of distress and despair also continued to pour in from different parts as many found their homes filled with huge mounds of mud, slush and dirt left by the receding flood waters.
As of now, over 3,128 people are housed in relief camps set up across Madikeri and Somwarpet taluks. This apart, there are people who have taken shelter at their relatives’ houses and also some home stays that have voluntarily provided food and accommodation to the displaced people.
While most of the flood victims who had their houses on slopes are sure that their houses would have been washed away, those who had their houses in plain areas are testing their luck by visiting them. But those houses that have not been washed away have a new problem: Layers of slush and mud that have accumulated inside. This apart, they have to face snakes, scorpions and arachnids that have taken shelter inside their homes.
If floods and landslides made them homeless, those who have their homes undisturbed face the nightmare of cleaning and repairing them bit-by-bit. It would at least take a week for them to clean the insides of the house and make it habitable. Even if the houses are cleaned, the smell of mud and rotting plants will linger for a long time. If they have to repair their houses, raising thousands of rupees for the same is a daunting task.
Flood victims returning home have been warned by the relief centre managers that they have to watch out for deadly snakes and scorpions hiding in beds and cupboards and under carpets. Authorities say reptiles and arachnids are likely to have been washed into previously submerged houses. People have been told to check washing machines, piles of clothes and beneath furniture long sticks for reptiles and arachnids.
Meanwhile, the number of relief centres in Kodagu has come down from 51 to 40 as there is a steady outward movement of the affected from relief camps to their respective villages. The District Administration is providing ration to last for a few days for each family shifting back to their homes as commuting for daily requirements will not be easy till normality is restored.
Those who left the camp received about 50 kg of rice and wheat, biscuit packets, sugar, toothpaste, and other essential commodities in the form of a kit.
Army stops body-retrieving operation
The Army units conducting relief and rescue operations have stopped searching for bodies. Sources said that this is because the Kodagu District Administration has been asked by the Army Headquarters not to use the soldiers to search for dead bodies and use them for other major tasks of rehabilitation.
Henceforth, National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) and State Disaster Relief Force (SDRF) will search for dead bodies, if any.