When the tide is at its highest and the winds at their fiercest at night, water surrounds the house and the walls quake with every wave, says Sharmila Poojary (50), a widow living in a thatched house at Mogaveerapatna near Ullal on the outskirts of the city.
“The walls seem like they may buckle any time. I have my two small children living with me and it is scary to live in the house,” she says. Showing the damp sand floor of her house, she says water seeps in everywhere, spoiling food, clothes, and mattresses, among others.
“I make a little money by collecting sea shells on the beach and selling them. I have no money or land to relocate,” says Ms. Poojary.
In the nearby village of Mukacherry, Abdul Rehima Ammabba is seen piling waste plastic, furniture, and clothes behind his house.
“Last night, the sea was rough. One part of the wall has chipped off, and the wood on the door just floated off yesterday,” he said.
While pointing out the damage to the walls of their house, his neighbours Mohammad, Aliabba Fakir and Hassan Abba say this stretch of the village is worst hit as breakwaters lie around ten ft. from the edge of their houses. “Every year this happens. But every year, it seems like the sea is coming closer to the house,” says Mr. Hassan Abba.
During high tide, the waves come over our house. “At night, sea water seeps through from the roof too,” Jamia Mohammad says.
Walking along the coast between Ullal and Someshwar, the extent of sea erosion becomes apparent. Houses have started developing cracks, and they are being covering by tarpaulins to prevent further damage.
Even people whose houses are inland complain of inundation during high tides. “With the monsoon picking up, seawater floods the area. It flows on roads, and from behind our house. It feels like we’re cut off completely by water,” says Mohammad Noor-ul Haq of Kaico.
Over 200 houses along the coast between Ullal and Someshwar remain at the mercy of the surging seas, he says.
Although saying that no complaint of damage to houses due to surging seas has been reported, Basil D’souza, president of the Ullal Town Municipal Council, says that during a recent meeting with State Government officials and the district administration, it was decided to place sandbags along the breakwaters as a temporary relief. Hopefully, the work will commence in two weeks.