Kerala floods: The best of times, the worst of times

If the most devastating flood of the century almost brought Kerala to its knees, it also brought in an army of Good Samaritans who came from all over the State to help people get back on their feet

August 22, 2018 05:05 pm | Updated August 23, 2018 02:56 pm IST - Thiruvananthapuram

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: 21/08/2018:: Voulenteers at the relief collection centre set up at Nishagandhi takes a break from their hectic work to have their breakfast ,in Thiruvananthapuram  on Tuesday........... photo..S Mahinsha

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: 21/08/2018:: Voulenteers at the relief collection centre set up at Nishagandhi takes a break from their hectic work to have their breakfast ,in Thiruvananthapuram on Tuesday........... photo..S Mahinsha


The waters rose and Kerala fought back. Even when their own homes were water-logged, volunteers travelled to Alappuzha, Pathanamthitta, Kochi and Thrissur, to save the lives of people marooned in homes and institutions. They ran rescue missions, set up relief centres and started working the phone lines or organise help.

Fishermen from across the State rushed in with boats for rescue operations. Truckers drove through blinding rain and flooded roads to reach essential materials to relief camps. Bus drivers put their lives at risk to keep transport lines open. Government machinery worked almost round the clock in the city.

Sleep and rest became alien to an army of young volunteers. The shopping frenzy for Onam was replaced with shoppers buying for collection centres working for camps all over Kerala. Shelves were emptied of water bottles, biscuits, towels, sanitary napkins, diapers — the essentials of daily life people take so much for granted on a regular day.

Collection centres sprung up at various places and relief camps multiplied all across Thiruvananthapuram, one of the places that was spared the worst of the floods that ravaged the State.

A large network of people went online from all over the world to keep updating the list of requirements at the camps and take calls for rescue coming in from different parts of Kerala and the globe. Now, as the camps empty and those evacuated leave for their homes in different districts, volunteers are moving on to the next stage: helping people clean their homes and begin anew.

We bring you face to face with some of the selfless men and women who worked behind the scenes for days and kept up the resilient spirit of the state.

Cyber warriors from Thiruvananthapuram

With the capital city being spared the worst of the floods, when compared to many other places in Kerala, the group started working in association with other clusters formed on social media across Kerala and offline teams that were on ground round the clock, attending to rescue operations and collecting relief materials.  Read more here


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

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. Read more here


'We must have rescued about 3,500 people'

On August 16, a group of fishermen under the Matsya Thozhilali Samrakshana Samithi had decided to go with 24 boats to Pathanamthitta, one of the worst hit by the floods.  For the hardy seafaring fishermen from Poonthura, it was a trip they would never ever forget. All they had were biscuits and tea for sustenance, but they have no complaints whatsoever. Read more here


 Life after the deluge in Kerala’s relief camps

The 733 relief camps in Kochi sheltering as many as 2.16 lakh displaced flood victims are temporary homes. Brimming with stories of loss, heroism and love, the camps are a microcosm of humanity in times of peril.  Read more here


Animal rescuers lend a helping hand

The calamitous monsoon in Kerala has left countless families without shelter and thousands of animals displaced. Three animal NGOs - People for Animals, Hands for Paws and Street Dog Watch, have joined forces to form Save Animals Kerala, a collective initiative to help rescue, rehabilitate and provide medical assistance to flood affected animals throughout Kerala. Read more here

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