Incessant rains in Mangaluru and surrounding areas, owing to the Mekunu Cyclone, for the last two days have inundated most of the areas throwing normal life out of gear. Hundreds of houses in low lying areas were under 3-4 feet water on Tuesday (29-May). Storm water drains overflowed throughout the city endangering lives of people who were forced remain indoors. Most roads, including the highways, were submerged in muddy waters.
The rains and flooding have resulted in loss of lives and property in Udupi too. 4 people have been reported to have lost their lives thus far. The rains which started in the morning continued to batter the coastal cities of Mangaluru and Udupi till late evening resulting in the flooding. The Schools and colleges in the region have been shut.
Fire safety personnel have been helping people to evacuate homes which have been inundated.
RSS Springs into Action
Swayamsevaks of the RSS sprung into action as soon as common people were affected by the rains. They helped people to reach their destination and also provided food and essential commodities wherever needed. Swayamsevaks were also seen clearing the roads of debris and clearing the pathways for water to flow freely.
RSS Mangaluru Vibhag Karyalaya ‘Sanghaniketan’ has provided shelter for the needy. Food and emergency clothing have also been arranged for those who have been sheltered in the RSS Karyalaya. Swayamsevaks also helped in evacuating people from their houses which have been under 3-4 feet of water.
Prant Saha Karyavaha of Karnataka Dakshina Shri PS Prakash informed that Swayamsevaks have been directed to be alert and help people wherever possible. More than a 1000 Karyakastas are actively involved in relief and rescue activities, he informed. Food and blanket distribution centres have been started at several places. The local BJP offices will also be used to distribute food and clothes he said. We have setup a control room in the Karyalaya and are coordinating the relief activities. A team of doctors, essential medicines, 3 ambulances and JCBs have also been put into service. The focus currently is on providing emergency services and immediate relief to those affected, he said. All Sangh Parivar organizations, including ABVP, VHP and its karyakartas are involved in the relief activities throughout the clock he informed.
He urged people who require any help to reach out to the RSS through the control room number 2973571.
Food packets are being distributed at several places by RSS karyakartas. In many areas, the Swayamsevaks have opened their homes to anyone in distress and have been providing food and shelter irrespective of caste or religion.
A Dithering Government
With no formal cabinet even after a week of taking the oath, the Karnataka government under HD Kumaraswamy was seen unprepared to raise to the occasion during the rains in the coastal region. The lack of swift response from the district administration was evidence enough that there were no proper directions from the government in handling the crisis. The government has no ministers (except deputy CM) yet and hence even the district in-charge ministers have not been named.
It can be recalled that the CM had openly stated that he cannot take any decision on cabinet formation until Rahul Gandhi returns from abroad to solve the internal bickering between the JD(S) and the Congress over ministerial berths.
The locals in Mangaluru are wondering if the slow response to relief and rescue activities are due to the non-functional government in the state. Many have even opined that since the coastal region overwhelmingly voted for the BJP in the recent assembly elections, the government and representatives from Cong and JD(S) have been lackadaisical in their approach to the ongoing relief activities. The government efforts are being directed from the Chief Ministers Office in Bengaluru.