Torrential rains continued to wreak havoc in northern Karnataka with 35 more deaths being reported from the region since Thursday night, pushing up the rain-related toll in the state to 86. Eight people were killed in Raichur, six in Bagalkote, five in Bellary, four each in Bijapur, Gulbarga and Gadag and two each in Koppal and Bidar.
Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa held an emergency meeting, where Air Force and Army officials were present, besides state ministers, to take stock of the situation. Bijapur district was the worst hit by the rains, which has thrown normal life out of gear in the districts of Raichur, Gulbarga, Koppal, Bagalkote, Bellary, Belgaum and Gadag.
More than 20,000 houses have collapsed, many areas inundated and road services affected in some parts, officials said. Helicopters are being pressed into service for rescue operations.
Ministers S Suresh Kumar, Sobha Karandlaje and R Ashok, Chief Secretary S V Ranganath, Director General of Police Ajay Kumar Singh and Additional Director General of Police (Land and Order) A R Infant were among those who attended the meeting.
Briefing reporters after the meeting, Yedyurrappa described the situation in 11 districts as 'grim and serious'. He said a sum of Rs 100 crore will be given for carrying out relief and rescue operations in the rain battered regions, taking the total availability of funds with deputy commissioners of districts to Rs 300 crore.
Over 26,000 houses had collapsed following torrential rains in various parts of the state. Four helicopters, including two in Bellary and two in Raichur, have been pressed into service for relief and rescue operations. In addition to this, six helicopters would shortly be deployed in aid of those facing the rain fury. Thirty two boats from the Madras Engineering Group and Centre have also been engaged in rain-hit regions, he said.
Following inundation of various areas in Mantralaya, on the borders of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, the Karnataka government had sought the neighbouring state's help to carry out relief and rescue operations. The situation in northern Karnataka, which had witnessed unprecedented rains, was serious, he said.
Yeddyurappa said he would visit the rain-affected Haveri district today. An aerial survey of Bellary, Koppal, Raichur and Gadag would be carried out on October 4, he said.
The rain forecast indicated that Malnad and coastal districts would receive heavy rains till October 4. Yeddyurappa said out of the Rs 100 crore released today, Rs 12 crore each will be released to the six most affected districts of Bellary, Raichur, Koppal, Bijapur, Dharwad and Bagalkote.
A sum of Rs six crore each would be released to Dharwad, Belgaum and Gulbarga and Rs five crore each to Bidar and Haveri districts.