Hyderabad: Yacht Club sails to rescue the flood-hit
Hyderabad: Several sailors of Yacht Club of Hyderabad rescued people with the help of their boats during the floods in the city for the last couple of days. National Sailing Champion Gowtham Kankatla and fellow sailors were salvaging boats and engines till 4 am on the night of October 13 in blinding rain and winds as water flowed across the jetty like never in history.
"We got a call at 7 in the morning from NGO SDIF saying that about 500 people were stranded and unable to leave home and so our coaches responded immediately. I have never in the past 40 years seen such a deluge at the lake and it was surreal at 2 in the morning as wind and water lashed the Hussain Sagar like never before. We lost a load of expensive equipment including an engine and one boat sunk as they were never designed to or anchored suit these intense conditions. Volunteers headed out to Tolichowki and Saroornagar and working at low-lying colonies adjacent to lakes and probably reclaimed from what would otherwise be the lake beds. When they arrived they were met with hordes of anxious people in the crowded narrow by-lanes and were pressed with requests to rescue the stranded who comprised mainly the elderly, injured, women and children. They were in ankle and waist-deep water. What was amazing was that the waters spared neither the poor nor the rich and the numbers of people that were ferried to safety and solid ground by four small Optimist class boats normally used by kids below 15 was close to about 1600 across 2 days. It is amazing to see the selfless volunteerism that has saved the day for migrant labour and now once again a repeat act after this cloud burst of unprecedented intensity," said Suheim Sheikh, the President of Yacht Club of Hyderabad.
Gowtham, Saibaba and Prasad said that their fellow sailors were delighted about their new role as small boat ferry operators in the "new rivers" of Tolichowki and Saroornagar. Many who could not walk had to be assisted onto the boats and taken out very carefully with volunteers and Life Guards alongside to ensure that the boats would not topple. Shravanti Tiwari, one of the rescued residents, expressed her gratitude as she is a liver patient and had a doctors appointment on October 14. She just about managed to get onto the boat and got into a car to head to the hospital.