Kochi

Ockhi brings misery to coastal areas

On high alert: District Collector K. Mohammed Y. Safirulla visits areas in West Kochi affected by sea erosion on Friday; visitors to the Fort Kochi beach were evacuated for the second day.

On high alert: District Collector K. Mohammed Y. Safirulla visits areas in West Kochi affected by sea erosion on Friday; visitors to the Fort Kochi beach were evacuated for the second day.   | Photo Credit: H_Vibhu

Nearly 200 families from Chellanam, Kumbalanghi, Edvanakkad evacuated and moved to safe shelters

The fury of Cyclone Ockhi that left a trail of destruction across the State was felt along the coastal areas of Ernakulam district as well. Nearly 200 families from the coastal villages of Chellanam, Kumbalanghi and Edvanakkad had to be evacuated and moved to safe shelters in the wake of high swell waves on Friday morning.

The district administration with the support of the police and the Navy had to evacuate them swiftly and shelter them in nearby schools as an extremely rough sea encroached the shore to gush into their homes. Nearly 100 houses, especially in Puthenthodu and Baazar areas, were inundated. Chellanam, extremely vulnerable to sea erosion during monsoons, was the worst affected as 180 families from the coastal villages had to be moved to shelters. Seventeen families from Kannamaly and 18 in Edvanakkad also had to be rehabilitated as the district administration stocked all shelters with essential items, including food and medicines. Round-the-clock medical service has also been assured at camps while the Collector has asked taluk hospitals and primary health centres to be fully geared up for any emergency.

The sea had turned rough late last night and the situation turned worse in the morning, said Revenue authorities. Over 25 houses were inundated in Puthanthodu area alone, sending 96 inmates scurrying for safety to the rehabilitation centre. At last count, 580 people were being sheltered at the three rehabilitation camps at St. Mary’s UP School, Chellanam, Government Higher Secondary School, Puthanthodu, and Government UP School, Edvanakkad. While some returned home as the sea calmed down in the evening, the authorities have warned against such a move citing the possibility of the sea turning rough again during the night.

Seawalls

According to local residents, tidal waves touched a height of up to two metres in the morning, easily breaching the single-layered seawall and cement sacks filled with sands along the shores of Chellanam, leaving houses inundated. The encroaching tides also swept away traditional boats and fishing net leaving the fishing community in further agony. The burst of the drinking water pipe amid efforts to widen the canals using an earthmover added to the misery.

Milton Antony, a local resident, accused the authorities of leaving coastal communities in the lurch even as he alleged that the seawall at Chellanam, which had collapsed four years ago, was yet to be rebuilt.

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Printable version | Mar 30, 2020 4:03:08 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/ockhi-brings-misery-to-coastal-areas/article21245035.ece

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