Bengaluru: It was an uphill task and a memorable rescue operation for the civil defence Quick Response Team (QRT), the first to reach Kodagu after the disaster struck on August 14. They were fully equipped to rescue people amidst the incessant rain.
A team led by P.R.S. Chetan, officer commanding, civil defence QRT rescued over 1,000 people on the first day from inundated areas in Kushalnagar.
He recalled the tough and odd challenges they faced during the rescue operations. Residents had taken refuge on the first floor of their houses, as the water level rose to 12 feet at Sai Layout, Kuvempu Layout and Indira Layout. Boats made multiple sorties to ferry the people to the safer places. He told Deccan Chronicle that his team had to trek through hostile hilly region, which was dangerously slippery in many areas. Most roads were blocked due to landslides and they had to take labyrinthine detours to rescue the stranded residents.
The team had to trek hostile hilly ranges and often had to travel through narrow paths to reach the affected regions and villages. The rescued people included senior citizens, a woman in advanced stage of pregnancy (8.5 months), pets and livestock. The operations lasted for almost nine hours.
Daring rescue at Haleri
The team also undertook a daring rescue of rescuing 45 villagers stranded at the other end of a damaged bridge at Haleri Village in Suntikoppa.It was a perilous situation, both for the rescue team and the villagers. Without a second thought, our team braved heavy rains and high current water flowing at 15 feet height and trekked about 1.5 kms carrying 400 kg of equipment. A long rope was established to rescue stranded villagers.
Landslides hits rescue team
For the QRT team the most difficult situation was when they had to cope with landslides, which endangered their own lives.At Chikkenduru near Madikeri they had run for their lives during a landslide that blocked the only highway.The toughest challenge was on August 17 and 18, when the road connectivity was lost and the team had to attend to a lot of distress calls.After discussing with the local administration the team trekked about 13 km from Madhapur to Hattihole to rescue over 140 people.