Tuesday 21 May 2024

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Society | Environment

South Goa flooded with heavy rains


Within 25 days, Goa is once again hit by stormy winds and heavy rainfall, this time disrupting normal life in the South Goa like what the tourist state witnessed in the mining belt of North Goa on 11 June.

As a result, Goa witnessed its first ever derailment on the Konkan railway line leaving seven passengers injured. Two persons also died in Panaji and border taluka of Canacona, hundreds of houses got flooded or collapsed along the coastal belt and prime roads including the national highway getting totally blocked due to floods.

The main four rivers of the South – Sal, Kushawati, Talpona and Galgibag – are overflowing due to continuous downpour since the night of 5th July, recording as high as 30 cms of rainfall in just 24 hours in the district town of Margao yesterday.

Besides the interior talukas like Canacona, Sanguem and Quepem, prime cities like South Goa district town of Margao, port town of Vasco and capital city of Panaji were also badly affected. A one young city hotelier got crushed to death in a parked Sumo as a huge tree fell on it in Panaji whereas a young tribal boy got washed away to death in a tribal village of Canacona.

Most of the fire brigade personnel have been working round the clock since yesterday, clearing trees fallen either on houses or roads. "We have received over 35 calls in last 24 hours, of which 17 are from Panaji itself while 14 are from Margao", says P K John, the fire brigade director.

The rains even did not spare a high court judge Justice Ferdin Rebello, who got trapped in his Altinho bungalow here with a huge tree falling right in front of his house blocking the entrance. "Most of the incidents however have occurred due to tree felling", said John.

The fire brigade personnel also rescued 130 persons in Margao, who got trapped in their slums built in a small coconut garden surrounded by fields from all the sides which got fully flooded last night.

The major incident however occurred yesterday afternoon when Ernakulam bound Mangla Express, which was already delayed due to landslide in Ratnagiri, got rammed into a huge mass of boulders and muck spread for almost 60 metres at Galgibag in Canacona due to landslide.

The 1500 travellers however had a miraculous escape as only the engine, the front luggage coach and one general passenger coach got badly damaged, injuring only seven passengers while others were left unhurt.

As the KRC would take minimum two more days to clear the tracks, all the trains along the route are being diverted now including Rajdhani, Netravati Express, Mangla Express and Matsyagandha. The traffic from Northwards to Margao however is functioning smoothly as the incident occurred on the southern border of the state.

This is for the first time in the last two decades that the tourist state has witnessed such heavy rainfall, which has already reached 188 cms in 36 days when Goa records average rainfall of 270 cms in 120 days, till September.

The issue was also raised in the Assembly today, when chief minister Francisco Sardinha announced 24-hour relief service and compensation for the losses. "The cities are getting flooded due to man-made problems like mushrooming constructions and blocking of drainage system by the builders", he admitted.

The scene of 11 June was of a similar kind, recording almost 35 cms of rainfall in the interior talukas like Sattari and Bicholim in North Goa. The damage there however was much more, especially because of artificially created problems like huge heaps of mining rejects in the mining belt, which blocked the water from all the sides.

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