BENGALURU: The true extent of the damage caused by the downpour over the last two weeks started to emerge in parts of Karnataka as the rains began to subside in some regions of the state.
Though people are yet to return to their villages, videos and pictures of homes filled with several feet of silt, shops and small businesses washed away, inundated banks among other miserable scenes started to fill up social media and news broadcasts in the state.
A total of 54 humans and at least 852 animals are dead, 15 people are missing and 100 talukas are affected by the downpour in Karnataka. After a slow start to the monsoon, heavy rains wreaked havoc across Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra and other parts of the country, displacing hundreds of thousands of people, animals and destroying thousands of crores of property.
Weather authorities said that there would be fairly widespread and moderate rains over most parts of North Karnataka while coastal and malnad region most is likely to receive widespread with moderate to heavy rains for the next 5 days.
Over 697,398 people have been evacuated by state, central and defence personnel working almost round the clock in search and rescue operations across Belagavi, Chikmagalur, Uttara Kannada, Kodagu, Dakshina Kannada and other parts of the state.
Over 55,325 houses have been damaged and the crop loss is estimated at over 445,942 hectares of agricultural land.
Karnataka chief minister B.S.Yediyurappa toured Shivamogga district on Tuesday and said that he would apprise Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the situation on 16 August amid growing calls by opposition leaders asking the centre to declare it as a national calamity.
“This is a huge calamity of national proportions. The task can not be left to State Government alone. Central Government is obligated to share the responsibility. Karnataka pays huge taxes to the Centre," Krishna Bye Gowda of the Congress wrote on Twitter along with the #BJPGovtMissing.
The opposition has been trying to make life difficult for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government headed by Yediyurappa over its handling of the rains and floods. With no ministry in place after over three weeks since Yediyurappa took office, the lack of a cabinet giving the Congress room to attack the government.
“In spite of aerial surveys by Union Home Minister and FM, they are yet to be convinced about #KarnatakaFloods and declare this as National Disaster. Funds also still awaited.
BJP high command neither giving central govt funds nor even a ministry to K’taka in this crisis," he wrote in another tweet.
However, there remains no clarity on if there is a provision to declare any catastrophe as a national calamity under the present guidelines of the disaster management act 2005.
Amid growing calls to declare last year’s floods in Kerala as a national calamity, the then home ministry had informed parliament that the existing guidelines of State Disaster
Response Fund (SDRF)/ National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF), do not
contemplate declaring a disaster as a ‘National Calamity’. “However, in the
event of calamity of a ‘severe nature’, financial assistance towards the notified
natural calamities including flood is met from the SDRF which is further
supplemented from NDRF in accordance with the established procedure," according to the home ministry’s response in parliament on 31 July 2018.
“@CMofKarnataka estimates losses in #KarnatakaFloods to be over 40000 Cr, 7 lakh people evacuated, 4 lakh people are in relief centers, over 50 dead & 100s missing. Yet
@HMOIndia didn’t think of announcing a relief package. Why isn’t Karnataka a priority for Modi sarkar?," Priyank Kharge of the Congress wrote on Twitter.