Meet Venkatesh, a Class VI student in Government Primary School at Hirerayanakumpe, Karnataka who has become famous overnight. He had no idea that a small act of bravery cum kindness could make national media talk about him.
A driver of an ambulance was carrying six children as well as a dead body of a woman across a flood in the stream at Hirerayanakumpi village of Devadurga taluk in Raichur district. With the bridge across the stream to Machanoor village of Wadagera taluk of Yadgir district totally submerged, he was in need of guidance. The driver then turned to a group of boys playing nearby for help.
This is when the little Venkatesh readily jumped in to guide the ambulance, despite caution from his friends against being foolhardy. Venkatesh started walking through the gushing waters, navigated his way across and guided the ambulance over too. After his video went viral, Venkatesh in all his innocence said,
The driver of the ambulance asked me whether there was a way to go into the stream and if he could drive the ambulance on the bridge. I just wanted to help the driver. I showed the way. I do not know what is meant by help, bravery etc.
Later, the boy and his family had been shifted to a nearby rehabilitation centre at Shavantgera Government Higher Primary School since Hirerayanakumpe was submerged in the floods. The Raichur district administration confirmed that Venkatesh and his family members had shifted to a relative’s house at Yadgir from there.
His elder brother Bhimaraya said Venkatesh would often play in the stream with his friends, while also helping their parents during cultivation. Bhimaraya recalled how two years ago as well, Venkatesh had saved a woman who had fallen into the stream. Venkatesh’s father Devappa is a poor farmer in Hireryanakumpi.
Raichur district administration officials say they plan to recommend Venkatesh for the state bravery award.
At least 60 people have been killed and seven lakh displaced across 22 districts in flood-ravaged Karnataka, where a further 15 people are still missing, as of August 14. Nearly 60,000 houses have been destroyed. The state government has set up more than 1,000 relief camps.
Chief Minster BS Yediyurappa has announced compensation of Rs. 5 lakh for the family members of those who died.
More rainfall has been predicted for interior regions of northern Karnataka till Saturday, with the Belgavi district likely to receive moderate to heavy downpours in some regions.
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