Bengaluru Rains Cause Havoc: Death Toll Rises To 16, Life At A Standstill
October 16th, 2017
A 16-year-old girl drowned in an overflowing drain on Sunday, 15 October, said a report by the NDTV. The city is reeling under the effects of heavy Bengaluru rains. Death tolls owing to the heavy rainfall has increased to 16. Bengaluru rains in 2107 have recorded the highest rainfall in 115 years.
The 16-year-old girl, Narasamma lived with her parents in a makeshift home at C.V Raman Nagar. She accidentally slipped in the drain on Sunday morning, while she had gone to attend nature’s call. Her body was later recovered at some distance from the slum where her family resides. The family hails from the northern part of Karnataka and worked as construction labourers in the city.
Another incident of death caused by heavy Bengaluru rains occurred on Saturday as a mother-daughter duo were washed away. Pushpa and her mother Ningamma were washed away in the stormwater drain following heavy rains in the city on Friday night. Officials involved in the search operations said that were efforts were being put to recover Ningamma’s body.
Meanwhile, the city civic body Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagar Palike (BBMP) along with the National Disaster Response Force and the State Disaster Response Force fished out the body of 22-year-old Pushpa from a stormwater drain at Kumbalgodu yesterday morning.
Bengaluru rains have brought the city to a standstill and overwhelmed the stormwater drain (SWD) network over the last few days. Bengaluru rains over the past few days have recorded maximum rainfall. Though the south-west monsoon was set to end in September, it remained active during its withdrawal phase, even as the north-east monsoon is a week away.
Increasing death tolls
In the past 15 days, there have been over 10 deaths owing to the heavy Bengaluru rains. The number of mishaps due to potholes and incessant rains have invoked an altercation among the ruling party Congress and the BJP.
On Saturday, as many as five people including two women were killed and left several injured. Many localities have been flooded, crippling normal life. According to a report by the India Today, N Suresh, BBMP spokesperson said, “Heavy downpour with thunderstorms and gusty winds in the city have claimed five lives since Friday night. A temple priest, couple and a mother-daughter duo have died in rain-related incidents.”
Among the victims, Vasudev 40, a priest in Ganesha temple in Basaveshwarnagar slipped into a stormwater drain and drowned. The fire brigade personnel discovered his body about a kilometre away from the spot. “Meenakshi 55 and her daughter Pushpalatha, 22 were washed away as the water entered their low-lying house in Laggere (in the western suburbs). The mother’s body is yet to be traced despite their day-long search,” Suresh said.
Shankarappa, 55 and his wife Kamalamma 44, were found dead when a wall of their old house in a north-west suburb of Kuruburahalli crashed and fell on them as they were clearing the rainwater in a room. Suresh also added, “the rain-related incidents in the city has gone up to 8 this season and still counting.”
CM Siddaramaiah lashed out at the BJP for politicising the issue. He said his government has taken up the repair work and clearance with the 850-km stormwater drain network in the city by allocating Rs 800 crore. He said, “No government has done this in the past. Now they are playing politics over the deaths. He also mentioned that this has been the worse rainfall in years.” Facing immense flak from all quarters, the government has decided to prioritise mending of stormwater drains over 350 kilometres, which are the most acutely affected areas.
About 46 days in the last two months gauged the highest rainfall, he further added, “our drainage system and the stormwater drains don’t have the capacity to bear it.” BJP state president Yedurappa, on the other hand, visited the rain-affected areas yesterday and blamed the Congress-led Siddaramaiah government for the deaths.
Meteorological department officials suggested that the city has received about 16250 mm of rainfall in contrast to the highest recorded 1600 mm of precipitation received in the year 2005. One or two spells of heavy showers are expected in the next 48 hours in some parts of the city.
The regional MET director, Sundar Metri said, “The city received 181 mm rain since October 1 and the forecast is moderate to heavy rains which will continue till the onset of the north-east monsoon from October 20.”
Several residents of Kendriya Vihar have been forced to stay indoors for the past five days, after water from Yellahanka lake flooded into the apartment complex, which is home to nearly 600 families. With ground situation worsening, due to heavy lashes of Bengaluru rains, citizens have taken to social media to express their displeasure over the worsening situation in the city.
The Logical Indian take
While reading this article, we must be sitting in the comfort of our safe spaces but we do fail to realise the agony, kith and kin of those washed away in the rains are going through. Most of them are drowning in the open manholes. Till the rain, we as citizens didn’t ask authorities to mend the road and the potholes and even authorities didn’t do anything. These deaths should affect us and we should make the authorities and leaders accountable. Otherwise, the day is not far, when we ourselves will be victims.
The torrential rains over the past two months have made 2017 the wettest year for Bengaluru. Torrential rains have also lashed parts of Hyderabad, Mysuru and nearby areas. Districts surrounding Bengaluru have also been reeling under the heavy rainfall. Amidst the lashes of heavy rain, it is the common man who has to bear the brunt. The government and the opposition, however, is playing the game of blaming each other.