Thirty people were killed as heavy rain battered 16 districts of Karnataka in recent weeks, but weather officials predict that the ordeal will end soon.
Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa returned to Bengaluru today, after camping in the flood-hit northern districts of the state for several days. "The estimated loss is around Rs 6,000 crore. Rivers are flooded due to discharge of water from dams in neighbouring Maharashtra. As many as 2.4 lakh people are displaced and 1,024 villages affected... It's for the first time in the last 45 years that such a situation has arisen," he told reporters.
Among those rescued from coastal Karnataka was veteran Congress leader Janardhan Poojary.
The Chief Minister claimed that the lack of a cabinet has not hindered relief work. "I may not have a cabinet, but all MLAs are working. From all parties, not just the BJP. Relief work is not affected at all by the absence of a cabinet," he said.
Cabinet expansion in the state was put off after BJP chief Amit Shah reportedly advised the Chief Minister to focus on political considerations only after flood relief work was completed.
Mr Yediyurappa has also appealed for help from various sources to rebuild the lives of those affected. Among the donations received so far is a sum of Rs 10 crore from the Infosys Foundation.
"I appeal to corporates to donate (towards flood relief). I am hopeful that the centre will release funds too. State government employees have donated a day's salary, putting together funds amounting to Rs 200 crore. We have released an initial amount of Rs 100 crore," Mr Yediyurappa said, adding that the government would rebuild houses lost in the floods.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who was elected to the Rajya Sabha from Karnataka in 2016, visited affected areas to present a report to the centre.
According to weather officials, the intensity of rainfall this monsoon has come as a huge challenge. "North Karnataka districts such as Belgaum, Haveri, Dharwad and Bagalkot have received excess rains and percentage departures are very high. They are 125%, 68%, 62% and 69%," Geeta Agnihotri, scientist and head, Met Department in Bengaluru, told NDTV.
According to predictions, the rainfall should start reducing now so that work on rebuilding homes and lives can start.
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