There were no signs of inclement weather but people settled on the Valiathura coast were in for a shock on Sunday morning when waves lashed the shore, damaging two huts and drinking water pipelines laid by the Kerala Water Authority (KWA).
The huts, which were rebuilt after last year’s monsoon, sustained minor damage. Several pipelines laid by the KWA were washed away. Fishermen, however, managed to retrieve four of them from the sea, residents of Valiathura said.
“The weather was bright but suddenly we heard waves pounding the shoreline. Those of us who were standing on the shore managed to escape from the scene. It happened around 9 a.m. and lasted a few seconds,” Arulappan, who returned to the shore after fishing, said.
Mary Lawrence, another resident of the area, said the fishermen who were living in the huts that were damaged had moved to their relatives’ homes. “If the situation on a normal day is like this, we wonder what is in store for us when it rains during the forthcoming monsoon. We have been asking the government to put up boulders along the coast to reduce the impact of seawater intrusion. But nothing has worked so far,” she said. The damage to the KWA pipelines resulted in disruption of water supply to the area.
Nerin, a resident, said the people had warned the KWA authorities about the vulnerability of the location where the pipes were laid. “Despite our warning, they chose to lay the pipes on the shoreline. At least five pipes were washed away in the sea surge,” he said.
Residents of Valiathura said they lived in perpetual fear of seawater intrusion. The children were the most affected. “The children are haunted by the increase in the incidents of sea surge. Their sleep is troubled and they become very scary when it rains,” Arulappan said.