They bear the brunt of advancing tides during the monsoon every year

With the waters breaking within metres of his compound wall – the deafening roar sending a shudder through the house – Chandrashekar Uchil, a fisherman in Someshwar Uchil, has decided to abandon his house for the season.

“It’ll get worse in the night. There is no way my family can stay here,” he said. In the past three years, he said, 14 of his coconut trees have been washed away in the advancing sea; and knew that damage to the house through sea erosion was inevitable.

However, what happened early on Tuesday morning still came as a shock. “Around 2 a.m., the waves started crashing against the windows and the house. The compound wall was torn apart, while the doghouse I had recently built got washed away…When it comes, it comes like a Tsunami,” said Mr. Uchil. A part of his house bears a long crack, and he estimates the damage to top Rs. 75,000.

“It’s been advancing a few metres every year, and this year has been the worst…before peak monsoon starts in July, we thought we’ll move out,” he said.

Even the calmer seas on Wednesday did little to placate his anxieties.

Amit Patapady, a member of the Someshwar Gram Panchayat, said a total of five houses had already been damaged in the region during high tides this season. “Countless trees have been washed away primarily in Uchil area,” he said.

Residents of the area expressed anger at officials and elected representatives for not constructing a sea wall, though assurances have been coming for years.

In the nearby Qiliriya Nagar near Ullal, the existing sea wall has had little effect on the marauding sea. Umar Farooq, who stays with 15 other family members, said the house has started to crumble this time around too. Last year, he said, the back wall of the house collapsed, severely injuring his mother.

“Late in the night, the waves engulf the entire house. The walls start to shake, and saline water starts to leak from the tiled-roof house,” he said. The effects of the crashing waves early on Tuesday were still seen even late in the evening. The kitchen and the back room are completely soaked.

“We have no choice at all. There are too many of us to shift out,” said Mr. Farooq. Three houses nearby bear the scars from this year’s monsoon.

Bhaskar Shetty, Assistant Superintendent of Police, Coastal Security Police, Mangalore, said Sasihitlu, Mukacherry, Uchil and parts of Tnnirbavi are witnessing major sea erosion this time. “We have been going around asking residents living close to the sea in these areas to move out temporarily,” he said.

Mangalore: In the intervening hours of Monday and Tuesday, the sea was at its ravaging worst. However, it retreated late on Tuesday and was calmer on Wednesday. What could explain this surge is the ‘supermoon’, where the full moon is closest to the earth, which occurred on Tuesday night.

While there is a link between the full moon and minor increase in the tides, these changes are accentuated during the supermoon, said C. Krishnaiah, of Ocean and Atmospheric Science and Technology Cell at Mangalore University.

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