Kerala floods: how people pitched in with relief work

Kerala floods: Abdul Shafi drove for nearly four days to reach relief materials to camps

The trip was unforgiving. “From Aluva to Thrissur, I was driving through flooded roads and lashing rains,” says trucker Abdul Shafi. “I had started at 11 pm on August 17 from Thiruvananthapuram with a truckload of food and drinking water from Government Women’s College, meant for camps in Thrissur. By 9 am on August 18, I had reached Aluva (about 232 km away from the capital city) and was stuck there as all the roads were blocked. Finally, the police authorities let me through at about 9.30 am. I reached the Thrissur Collectorate by 11.30 am. An unforgettable journey!”

For almost four days, 35-year-old Abdul was on the road, ferrying relief materials from Thiruvananthapuram to Pathanamthitta and Thrissur. Braving torrential rains that made visibility difficult and dangerous roads prone to skidding, he would keep going until he reached his destination.

 

“I was scared, but then I thought of my wife and two daughters at home in Perumanna in Kozhikode. The water had already entered my house and I knew how worried my family was. I thought of all the helpless people stuck in camps without food and water. They are my family as well. That resolve kept me going even though I had not slept properly for four days,” he says.

Abdul had come to the capital city and was all set to return home for Bakrid, when he got a message on Telegram, a cloud-based app, from All-Kerala Truckers’ Association. “It told us to extend all help to the district authorities as they were urgently in need of trucks to transport essential supplies to the camps that were springing up in all the flood-hit districts,” says Abdul who immediately drove his Bharat Benz to Sree Mulam Club, one of the first collection centres set up in the city on August 16. After loading his truck, that evening, his first trip was to Pandalam and he returned by 5.30 pm on August 17 for the harrowing drive to Thrissur.

Back home after incessant driving, he has been at the forefront of activities to collect supplies for relief camps. “From our little panchayat, we have been able to send five truckloads to Wayanad, Thrissur and Idukki. We are still on the job. It is at times like this that we have to help our family,” he says.

 

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Printable version | Feb 22, 2020 8:03:10 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/kerala-floods-abdul-shafi-drove-for-nearly-four-days-to-reach-relief-materials-to-camps/article24759324.ece

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