Some houses submerged, schoolchildren wade through waist-high water

From afternoon till late evening on Monday, the house of M.M. Ismail (62) in Mukka by the sea remained surrounded by water. “I do not know what will happen in the night. It all depends on how rough the sea will get tonight,” the senior citizen said.

He hoped that the sea would calm down and it would not rain any further and that the water level would go down. Only on Friday night many of the 20-odd houses in the area had to battle it out with the seawater that flooded their houses and caught them unawares. “We didn’t get any sleep at night”, says Mr. Ismail.

A half-kilometre road deviating from the Mangalore-Goa National Highway a little distance away from NIT-K, takes you to the Dombail – the area where Friday night was a nightmare. Salt water from the Arabian Sea gushing out from an opening in the seawall – a line of boulders erected to prevent sea erosion – and rainwater from the nearby areas formed a confluence to wreak havoc that night. This could happen on Monday night again, as Mr. Ismail pointed out. Explains his son Mohammed Althaf: “This region is largely affected by flood not only because of sea erosion but also because geographically it is at a lower level. Usually water from all sides gushes to the area and flows into the sea. When it rains heavily, and if there is a rise in the sea level with the high tide, the water does not flow into the sea but stays in the area. As a result, the entire place is covered with water”.

On Monday evening, the road leading to a few houses remained submerged and many children, many of them school-going were forced to walk in waist-high water. Alternatively, they would have had to walk long distances to avoid the water.

People like Mr. Althaf, a driver, will have to park their vehicles a little distance away and wade through the water to reach their houses.

When water recedes, people of the area clear the area where sand accumulates so that water flows into the sea. “Four or five of us need to work at least two hours to do this. But this is not a permanent solution because the sand again gets accumulated each time the sea level rises”, said Abdul Rahaman, a neighbour of Mr. Ismail. Shankar Suvarna (65) of the area said, “The problem is age-old.”

Mohiuddin Bawa, MLA, told The Hindu that this was discussed in the review meeting on Saturday. He said he was trying to get the Rs. 1.5 crore required to strengthen the sea wall and erect a ‘non returnable gate’ just like the one at a dam near the site. The project, he hoped, would be completed by next monsoon.

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