Seawall crumbles, Chellanam residents flee surging waves

Kochi/Kerala,14/05/2021.Many houses in the coastal area of Chellanam in Ernakulam district were flooded on Friday morning following sea erosion. Photo:H VIBHU.   | Photo Credit: VIBHU H

Residents of Chellanam were, once again, besieged by the sea on Friday.

The waves lashing the coastline are strong, and the seawall is crumbling at places. Water entered several homes at Cheriyakadavu, Malakapady, Velankanni, and Companyppady, besides parts of the Saudi-Manassery road, says V.T. Sebastian, a resident of Malakapady.

Mr. Sebastian of the Chellanam-Kochi Janakeeya Vedi has been demanding strong protective measures along the coastline.

“Water rose to unexpected levels on Friday morning damaging our belongings,” says John Bosco, a resident of Velankanni. Mr. Bosco moved in the morning to the second floor of a relative’s home.

“Every house has a kitchen on the ground floor, which is flooded. We have not eaten all day,” he says.

“Most people have moved to homes of relatives and friends in the hope that water will recede with the tide and they will be able to return. Moving to a relief camp at this point is not an option for many considering the chances of contracting COVID-19,” says Mr. Sebastian.

Joyce, a 52-year-old resident of Kannamaly, whose home is adjacent to the seawall, says the waves breached the seawall and water began entering homes around 9 a.m.

She moved to a relative’s house where she is staying with around 15 people of three families.

“There is no way to get out, unless we attempt swimming through the water or get a boat out. Most of us are scared to move to a relief camp considering the COVID situation. For now, we are staying put here, and people are moving to the second floor of homes of friends and relatives,” she says.

Measures fail

Makeshift arrangements the residents desperately made fell through when pitted against the onslaught of the waves. Two weeks ago, the Janakeeya vedi had sought contributions of plastic sacks to fill with mud to plug gaps in the seawall. While sacks were filled at some places, at most others residents could not find enough mud to fill them, says Jayan Kunnel, a resident of Saudi, and a member of the vedi.

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Printable version | Jun 20, 2021 1:28:48 PM |

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