Torrential rains, caused by a depression in the Bay of Bengal, has inundated half of Karnataka, causing floods in at least eight districts and affecting public life in another 12 by disrupting transport services, including road and rail traffic.
The districts located in the Western Ghats range such as Mangaluru, Udupi, Uttara Kannada, Belagavi, Kodagu, Chikkamagluru and Dharwad are the worst affected districts.
Due to the opening of many reservoirs following heavy rains in the Marathwada region in Maharashtra, the rivers in northern Karnataka have witnessed heavy flooding, interrupting rail, road and air travel.
Relief operations have been expedited as the heavy rains have affected 16,213 people badly, of which 8,733 have been evacuated from 131 villages so far in the districts of Uttara Kannada, Belagavi, Haveri, Dharwad, Shivamogga and Chikkamagluru.
Of the 8,733 evacuated persons, 4,964 have been accommodated in various relief camps set up by the district administrations.
According to data availed from the Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Centre (KSNDMC), almost 65 bridges in the low-lying areas have submerged in the Krishna river basin area while more than 10 schools have partially collapsed due to the torrential rains, including seven in Uttar Kannada district.
The incessant downpour has also resulted in heavy release of water from all the 13 prominent reservoirs across the state at 1.74 lakh cusec, while inflow of water in these reservoirs stood at 4.82 lakh cusec.
The water release data obtained from the irrigation department reveal that of the 1.74 lakh cusec total release of water from the reservoirs, 1.44 lakh cusec was released from the reservoirs in the Krishna river basin alone, while the total inflow of water in this basin stood at 2.53 lakh cusec, compared to 4.82 lakh cusec in all the 13 reservoirs.
The Kali river has also experienced heavy inflow. For the first time in the last few years, the river has released 40,000 cusec into its course.
Besides, the Gangavali river is also in spate, creating flood-like situations in the low lying areas in the Ankola taluk. As a result, a transport link has been severed between Yellapur and Ankola.
Due to landslides in Uttara Kannada, Chikmagluru, Hassan and Kodagu, vehicular movement has been badly affected. The South Western Railway was also forced to cancel trains due to heavy downpour.
Because of bad weather, the airporst in Hubli and Belagavi were forced to cancel most of their scheduled departures while a few flights were re-routed to Bengaluru, a senior official said.
Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa has held virtual meetings with the Deputy Commissioners of Uttar Kananda, Belagavi, Kalaburagi, Kodagu, Haveri and Dharwad districts to take stock of the situation.
The DCs have been directed to set up relief centres with all the necessary infrastructure and provide medical facilities to the people.