Covid-hit Karnataka braces for monsoon challenge – Times of India

BENGALURU: With monsoon intensifying in the state, the Karnataka government is preparing for the twin challenges of Covid-19 pandemic as well as floods & landslides, common in many parts of the state.
The revenue department has implemented an action plan devised using lessons from past experiences, stakeholders’ expectations and best practices across the country. The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has positioned its rescue and relief teams in vulnerable areas of flood-prone areas.
“We have deployed four NDRF teams in Kodagu, Raichur, Belagavi and Dakshina Kannada We have more than 200 trained SDRF personnel who will be deployed to other flood-prone districts as and when required,’’ said Manoj Rajan, commissioner, Karnataka State Disaster Management Authority (KSDMA).
After good pre-monsoon rain triggered by Cyclone Tauktae, the monsoon entered the state on June 5.
This year, the state is armed with two new flood protection panels that can be deployed during floods.
A micro-level plan has been planned in 913 vulnerable gram panchayats of 13 districts. “Community participation and utilisation of local resources as first responders are the focus,” he added Rajan said the groups will map landslide-prone areas in their respective regions and prepare action needed to prevent landslides. They have started doing their rounds with flood advisories, informing residents on how to protect their premises and stay safe.
There’s also integrated dam management to effectively coordinate with Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. “Water release from reservoirs is regulated taking into account rainfall forecast, possible inflows to reservoirs, and carrying capacity of the river downstream. This will reduce flooding of downstream villages along the banks of the river. We had a preparedness meeting with all stakeholders,’’ said a senior revenue department official.
The Indian Meteorology Department has warned that several parts of the state, including North Karnataka, could be flooded due to heavy downpours. Some districts of Malnad and Coastal Karnataka are prone to landslides.
Every monsoon (July to September) since 2018, Karnataka has experienced floods and landslides. On an average, over 100 people and 1,000 livestock have perished yearly. Thousands of people have been displaced, farmland inundated, and crops and public infrastructure destroyed. “The government usually comes up with an action plan every year but deaths and destruction have not abated. It should focus on saving people and livestock,’’ said Ravi Prakash M, a social scientist in disaster management.
Last year, five people, including the chief priest of Sri Cauvery temple, died following a massive landslide in Talacauvery, the birthplace of river Cauvery near Bhagamandala in Kodagu district.

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