After the deluge, a struggle to rebuild lives in Chellanam

A badly damaged house in Chellanam in Ernakulam district. Houses hit by heavy rain and sea incursion in the coastal region need elaborate repairs even as flooded septic tanks pose a major health threat to its villagers. H. Vibhu   | Photo Credit: H. Vibhu

Around 85% of the more than 10,300 houses in the coastal village of Chellanam were flooded and damaged in the four days of heavy rain and sea incursion till Monday, leaving villagers with the difficult task of cleaning up and repairing their homes.

Their struggles begin now. Most of the families have not been even able to cook their food because they are dealing with the debris and dirt left over by the floodwaters. Most homes have ankle-deep sand deposited in rooms. The shortage of clean water and electricity is hampering the cleaning works, said T.A. Dalfin, a resident and activist working with the Pachima Kochi Theera Samrakshan Samithy.

V.D. Majeendran, a fishers’ union leader, said he visited Maruvakkad on Tuesday. “The scene is heart-rending,” he said pointing out that people are unable to do anything with the massive heaps of debris washed ashore in the rain and high waves.

George Kaliparambil, a resident, said that his house has suffered extensive damage. Furniture, beds, utensils and other household items have been rendered useless. “There is no help at hand to clean up the place. There is an eight-inch thick slush in all the rooms brought in by the seawater,” he added.

“The government has not done any work to protect the shores and lives of people since 2015 in the Fort Kochi-Chellanam segment of the coast,” he said and added that the floods this time had broken the will of people.

Relief camps

According to government sources, two rescue camps were operational for people from Chellanam — The SDPY camp and Chinmaya Vidyalaya in Palluruthy. The SDPY camp had 15 people from six families and the Chinmaya Vidyalaya camp had 64 people from 19 families.

Mr. Dalfin said that people were unable to return to homes either because their homes have completely collapsed or they are not in a position to clean up the houses quickly enough for them to return.

The Fort Kochi-Alappuzha coastal road has seen heavy sand deposits in the Manassery area following the flood in Chellanam village. Fishing gear have been damaged even as there is severe shortage of drinking water. Many homes are still without electricity, Mr. Dalfin added.

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Printable version | Jun 15, 2021 2:25:45 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/after-the-deluge-a-struggle-to-rebuild-lives-in-chellanam/article34589058.ece

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