This Kodagu Town Turned Church, Temple & Madrasa into Rescue Camps

This Kodagu Town Turned Church, Temple & Madrasa into Rescue Camps

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Video Editor: Vishal Kumar

Even after three days of heavy rains, a little town in Kodagu district remained unaffected.

In Suntikoppa, located 14 km from Madikeri town, the buildings were intact, and supplies stored over days were now available in abundance. However, as distress calls from neighbouring villages poured in, the residents of the town decided to share their good fortune and convert their town into a rescue camp.

Supplies stored over days were now available in abundance, the resident said.
Supplies stored over days were now available in abundance, the resident said.
(Photo: Arun Dev/The Quint)

First, the residents gathered their private vehicles and rescued several people from adjacent villages. Some villagers who heard about the town sheltering people walked for over 20 km to reach here.

The residents have rescued several people from adjacent villages. 
The residents have rescued several people from adjacent villages. 
(Photo: Arun Dev/The Quint)

By Saturday, 18 August, more than 600 people had gathered at the village.

Temple, Church, Madrasa Converted to Relief Camps

When the numbers increased, the villagers turned three largest buildings in their town into rescue camps – a hall adjacent to a Shiva temple, St Mary’s church and a local madrasa.

The church and the temple as seen in Suntikoppa.
The church and the temple as seen in Suntikoppa.
(Photo: Arun Dev/The Quint)
A community kitchen has been set up in the temple hall. Locals are taking turns to cook meals for their guests.

“We have taken them into our care. So far, the local authorities have not reached here but we have pooled in enough resources to feed them for days,” said Rosemary Rodriquez, the president of the Suntikoppa gram panchayat told The Quint.

Rosemary Rodriquez said they have pooled in enough resources to feed them for days.
Rosemary Rodriquez said they have pooled in enough resources to feed them for days.
(Photo: Arun Dev/The Quint)

For 28-year-old Umesh, a resident of Haleri village, residents of Suntikoppe are not less than gods. Umesh, who works in Mangaluru, had come to his village after his parents informed him about the floods. Within hours of him reaching, his house was destroyed.

Umesh, a resident of Haleri village.
Umesh, a resident of Haleri village.
(Photo: Arun Dev/The Quint)

Dressed in a t-shirt and sweatshirt offered by one of the residents, Umesh told The Quint: “We gathered whatever we could and started walking. As there were no roads, we left our vehicles behind and walked through the coffee plantation. As we were walking some people helped, but even they had to leave their houses because of mudslide.”

“It was while we were walking we came across the group of men in a jeep, who took us to their town,” he added.

Enough Food, But Not Medical Aid

Latha Kumari, a head nurse from the local hospital said while the camps have enough food, they lacked medical supplies, especially bandages.

Latha Kumari, head nurse at local hospital.
Latha Kumari, head nurse at local hospital.
(Photo: Arun Dev/The Quint)
Many have fever and we have just enough tablets for them. But we have many people who were injured during their walk to camps, we need to more bandages and first aid to treat them.
Latha Kumari to The Quint

Father Edward William Saldana, the priest of the St Mary’s church, were more than 200 people are lodged said that they are collecting details from the rescued people to submit it to the government for their rehabilitation once the rains stop. “Also, people who have come here have told about several people who have refused to leave their houses. Our volunteers have gone there to persuade them,” he said.

Father Edward William Saldana.
Father Edward William Saldana.
(Photo: Arun Dev/The Quint)

Back at the camp, 8-year-olds Puneeth, Manju and Samyuktha have found new playmates. But their school in Kandanakolli village, among many other buildings, have been destroyed in the rain.

The kids in the temporary relief camps set up by residents of Suntikoppa.
The kids in the temporary relief camps set up by residents of Suntikoppa.
(Photo: Arun Dev)

The residents of the town say they will help these guests of theirs rebuild their lives once the rain stops.

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