In an attempt to understand and help people suffering from inundation and floods in Coorg District of Karnataka, friends of Sri Prasanna Veeranjaneya Yoga Kendra, Mahalakshmipuram, Bangalore visited Koppa and Kushalanagar of Coorg District. Hundreds of houses/shops and many roads were inundated in Coorg District with loss of electric-power, transport and communication. Many vehicles were washed away in floods/struck in deep water; we witnessed a truck driving on Koppa main road escaping washing away in flood in a nail-bite-finish. Highlights of the visit:
1. Number of temporary settlements visited four; one in primary school, one orphanage, one temple and one mosque. People with different faiths and religions stayed together in these settlements.
2. Total number of people in the settlements who took shelter having lost their houses/huts : 600
3. Most of the people who lost houses, valuables and personal belongings – are workers in plantations/ agricultural labourers with poor financial status
4. Many people in Kushalanagar temporary settlements had during 2018-floods lost their houses and subsequently built huts/houses during early 2019. Pathetically, due to current floods, they not only lost the constructions they made but saddled with huge loan.
5. Voices heard during our interaction with citizens in settlement :
a. “We are grateful to local volunteers, NGOs, Doctors and a few local government bodies who saved us from flood and are providing food, shelter and medicine”.
b. “We want Government to provide an alternate terrain to reside instead of the present low-lying areas”
c. “Banks/Government should waive loan we took last year to re-construct our houses since we lost our constructions again due to nature furry”
d. “All politicians and bureaucrats visit us during floods but provide very little help and escape with false promises”
6. Friends of our Sri Prasanna Veeranjaneya Yoga Kendra apart from sharing agony and giving moral support to the people in flood-affected area, distributed among all above four temporary settlements, though in a very small way medicine, balms, rice, groceries, food items, biscuits, rusk packets, wheat-floor, utensils, clothes, torches, candles & matches, plastic mugs and buckets, toothpastes/brushes soaps and toiletries, sanitary pads etc.
7. Yoga friends returned to Bangalore with heavy hearts, with a small sigh of relief for –
(a) having visited and spent time with flood-affected people in their difficult time and (b) having witnessed beautiful water-cascades gushing from vast Harangi Dam near Kushannagar.