Woman swims river in spate to save her unborn baby

YADGIR: It’s the story of a young mother-to-be’s courage. A nine-month pregnant woman swam about 600 metres of a river in spate to reach the mainland to ensure she received timely medical help and her unborn baby wouldn’t suffer due to lack of it. This even as machine boat operators and the taluk tahsildar’s efforts to reach her flooded village failed. Yallamma Balappa Gaddi, 20, of Neelakantarayanagaddi village became marooned after authorities released water from Narayanpur reservoir to Krishna river in Shorapur taluk in Yadgir district. The entire village became an island as it was surrounded by water and cut off from civilization. Yallamma realized that if she remained at home, a safe delivery and medical intervention would be impossible. On Wednesday, she decided that she must reach the mainland, to her parental home in Gonatla village, 5km away from Neelakantrayanagaddi. But the flood waters were gaining in strength and making things difficult. With the help of her family members, Yallamma decided to do the unthinkable for a heavily pregnant woman: she swam more than half a kilometre to reach the mainland. The brave woman was taken to the primary health centre in Kakkeri where the resident doctor, Satish Kumar Madhabhavi, examined her and found both mother and foetus safe. “Considering possible constraints, I decided to swim with the help of my brothers and local swimming experts,” said Yallamma, who is now at her parents’ house in Gonatla village, 5km away from the primary health centre. Meanwhile district authorities have declared that Yallama would be their responsibility and all medical help would be offered to the young Mother Courage. Villagers of Neelakantarayanagaddi hope Yallama’s feat will open district administration’s eyes to their perennial woes. Every monsoon, their village is flooded. They have to swim 600 metres even to get a matchbox. They have no other facility to cross the river. The Yadgir district administration has provided a machine boat that is stationed at Benchigaddi village but it has no operators. Boat operators were brought from Gulbarga on Saturday, but the force of water prevented them from running it. Shorapur tahsildar Arunkumar Kulkarni too could not reach the flooded village as a result. Krishna Bhagya Jala Nigama Ltd officials released 82,000 cusecs water from Narayanpur dam. The inflow into the dam was 1.22 lakh cusecs on Saturday. The dam has a capacity of 492.25 m and its current water level is 491.15m. There were no reports of floodwaters entering agricultural fields and damaging standing crops in the Yadgir district. We were not informed: District administration Yadgir deputy commissioner Manoj Jain said that Yellamma and her family had not intimated the local authorities about her condition. “Otherwise we would have provided necessary help for her,” he added. He said he has instructed district health officer, Shorapur tahsildar and other officials to take care of Yellamma. He added that since the village faced floods every monsoon for the past 40 years, villagers were accustomed to swimming the river and hence Yellamma had taken such a risk. He informed that an Asha worker has been deputed to look after Yellamma at her mother’s home.

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