High tides force Shamira and three-month-old daughter spend sleepless night

For Shamira Sinan, nursing a three-month-old baby, the threat of waves is very real. A few giant waves from the rough sea can play havoc – it can damage the house and endanger their lives.

Her rented house at Kadapara in Mukkacherri on the Ullal coast, is just about 10 feet from the sea wall – a line of big boulders. She could hardly sleep the whole of Wednesday night as waves kept pumping water right into the single-bedroom house.

On Thursday evening, some pebbles, sand, pieces of laterite soil bricks lay strewn across the hall suggesting that a big wave had moments ago knocked the rear door, which she generally locks. The water enters through the front door as well though she placed sandbags for protection — a measure employed even by her neighbours.

She keeps all the doors tightly closed and talks to visitors only through a window. “I am worried about the baby. What if something happens to her?” she said.

Her neighbours Sephia and Amisha too point out that they have been battling sea water over the last few days. The floors of many houses were wet. Hameed Idinabba, a fisherman, another neighbour, keeps all the utensils atop a wooden board hung from the tiled roof adjoining the main door, lest sea water soil them.

Many people told The Hindu that they had nowhere to go. “Some people are lucky. They have their relatives’ houses and they go away during this season. Where can we go?” they ask. “We are all poor, we are left to fend for ourselves,” says Ms. Sephia.

Nawaaz H., who has rented his house to Ms. Sinan, said his family had purchased a house some distance away to stay clear of sea erosion. He said only Rs. 2,000 was being paid as compensation, but the families spend 10 times the amount on repair. Mr. Hameed asked why nobody comes to their help though media and politicians visit the them every year. “Why don’t you do something about it?” he asks . Mr. Hameed and Mr. Nawaaz point out that Health Minister U.T. Khader, who had visited the area a week ago had promised that sea wall would be strengthened by adding more boulders. “But five days have gone by. There is no action,” Mr. Hameed said. Deputy Commissioner N. Prakash promised to look into the matter and take necessary action.

More In: Mangaluru