Pizhala residents begin to rebuild lives

Messy state: The unfinished Pizhala-Moolampilly bridge. Work on the bridge was affected by heavy rain and flooding.   | Photo Credit: H_Vibhu

The floodwaters have receded, and the Vembanad lake flows quietly between Moolampilly and Pizhala, with remains from the ravage floating in the waters.

Cages, once used for rearing fish, bed and clothing are strewn along the lake. A country boat sits in the middle of the main road leading to the island, a reminder of the deluge on August 16 and 17, during which around 1,200 families were evacuated and shifted to relief camps.

Pizhala is among the islands awaiting bridge connectivity to Ernakulam mainland, and residents of the island have begun rebuilding their lives after return from relief camps ahead of Thiruvonam. However, acute water shortage and lack of workers are holding up the cleaning process.

V.K. Prakashan, member of Kadamakkudy panchayat, said most houses were halfway through the cleaning process, and that it should be possible to complete the work in a day or two. Mathew Attullil, another panchayat member, said the biggest problem facing people was acute shortage of drinking water after the main supply pipeline burst during flooding. According to him, drinking water needs are now met by tanker lorry supplies.

However, Pizhala has only a narrow road, and it does not allow big lorries to enter the island. Tanker lorries now go to Container Road, and people collect water in buckets and pots, and ration is limited.

Pizhala bore the brunt of flooding, with floodwaters reaching up to the first floor of most houses. Single-storey structures went completely under water, and the islanders were in dire straits when rescue operations were launched on the morning of August 16, said a resident. By late afternoon, the families were shifted.

The Moolampilly-Pizhala bridge stands as a mute witness to the ravages of floodwaters. Water rose by eight to nine feet at the construction site. A worker from West Bengal said workers were evacuated on the night of August 15. They lost most of their belongings including utensils and clothing.

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Printable version | May 8, 2021 8:07:24 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/pizhala-residents-begin-to-rebuild-lives/article24787140.ece

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