Kerala

Sea erosion drives Thrissur coastal residents up the ‘seawall’

Tidal waves lashing the beach of Vadanappally on the coastal belt of Thrissur district.

Tidal waves lashing the beach of Vadanappally on the coastal belt of Thrissur district. | Photo Credit: K.K. Najeeb

Kowlathu Beevi, 56, has been living in a two-room house at Pookkanchery under Vadanappally panchayat, Thrissur, for the last 18 years. Her sister Thahira, husband and their 15-year-old son too live in the same house.

It was built at a cost of ₹35,000, an assistance they received from the panchayat after their thatched hut, close to the sea, was taken away by tidal waves. But with the sea advancing incrementally, she lives in constant fear.  

“Dozens of houses get washed away each year,” says Ms. Beevi. Like most residents in the area, panic grips Ms. Beevi and her family when the waves rise and pound the beach.  

Tidal waves lashing the beach of Vadanappally on the coastal belt of Thrissur district.

Tidal waves lashing the beach of Vadanappally on the coastal belt of Thrissur district. | Photo Credit: K.K. Najeeb

“I don’t have a place to go if this house too falls. The water is already at our doorstep now. I underwent knee replacement surgery recently and my sister Thahira, who underwent brain surgery a few years ago, suffers from multiple ailments,” says Ms. Beevi whose husband left her a few years after their marriage. Thahira’s husband, a rag picker, is the only breadwinner of the family. But the incessant showers have rendered him jobless. 

In Thrissur district, the coastal areas of Kodungallur and Chavakkad taluks bear the brunt of the furious sea during each monsoon.  

“Construction of a seawall is the promise after every episode of sea erosion and it gets repeated time and again,” says Thahira, a resident of Fazal Road, Vadanappally. “Whenever the tidal waves enter our house, authorities would ask us to move to relief camps. How can we go to camps with appalling facilities with grown-up girls?” she asks. 

“The seawall has collapsed partially, allowing the raging sea to destroy houses,” says Jameela of Sainuddin Nagar near Vadanappally.  

The entire coastal road from Chappakkadavu to Pokkanchery has been washed away, making it difficult for people to take the ailing to hospitals. The situation remains grim in other coastal areas, including Eriyad, Edavilangu, Azhikode, Chettuva, Poyya, Munakkakadavu, Chavakkad and Edakazhiyur.

“We used to have 60 cents of land and a house there,” says 70-year-old Susheela, a resident of Chettuva in Engandiyur panchayat, pointing towards the sea.

“When the sea swallowed our house and land, we bought some land away from the beach. But 10 years later, the sea has reached our courtyard again,” says Susheela, who lives near the pulimuttu (groyne) with her two daughters and their families.  

People in the locality say that the area has witnessed severe sea incursion after the construction of the groyne, built to protect the region from the raging sea, especially in the Chettuva and Manakkakadavu areas.


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Printable version | Jun 26, 2022 1:22:56 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/sea-erosion-drives-thrissur-coastal-residents-up-the-seawall/article65427505.ece