Thiruvananthapuram: The unprecedented deluge in Kerala that claimed more than 230 lives and left a trail of destruction also brought out the extraordinary heroism, compassion and unity of people of the state. Amid the devastation, what appears as a silver lining is nothing but the glimpses of human heroism and Kerala’s unrelenting spirit of compassion and resilience in the face of a disaster. Fishermen, who risked their lives venturing into the troubled waters, played a decisive role in rescue operations. Thousands of fishermen from far-away places reached the flood- stricken areas at Ernakulam, Alappuzha, Thrissur and Pathanamthitta districts as soon as they received distress calls. Their selfless efforts were recognised and hailed by media and by the state government.
The government had arranged trucks to take fishermen and boats to the flood-hit areas. “I didn’t think about anything else, when I heard about floods in Ranni,” said Freddy, a fisherman from nearby Vizhinjam, who rushed to the spot which is about 150 km away from his place. “More than my safety, I was thinking about the urgency of saving lives,” he said. Fishermen from all coastal areas in the State took part in the rescue operations and they could reach even to remote areas with their vessels.
A 32-year-old fisherman Jaisal K P from Tanur in Malappuram district became a hero after a video of him bending down in water for women to step on him so that they can get into the rescue boat became viral in social media. “I think the relief activities are my responsibility to a so a society at a time of crisis’, Jaisal had said. Youngsters turned up in thousands at various centres for voluntary rescue and relief works. “There were more than 45,000 youngsters who immensely contributed to the relief works,” IT Secretary M Sivasankar said. All the flood-hit areas witnessed an incredible turn up of youngsters everyday to help ensure food, medicine and other facilities at various relief centres. Not only money and materials, but land too was donated to the flood-hit.
M P Wilson, a farmer from Kaniyampatta in Wayanad district is among those who were ready to give up their land to reduce the misery of fellow human beings. He handed over documents related to his land of 19.5 cents to the District Collector, in order to ensure fair distribution to the distressed. People from all walks of life, irrespective of their political beliefs, joined together to face the difficult situation. “This unity and compassion will help us overcome the disaster and rebuild the State,” Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has said. “I want to thank everyone, including children who were keen on donating their savings to the Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund,” Vijayan said.
The State Cooperative Department has promised to build 1,500 houses for the flood-hit. A total of Rs Five lakh would be spent on each house with an area of 600 sq ft, State Co-operation Minister Kadakampally Surendran has said. Cooperative Societies in each area will supervise the construction work and the beneficiaries will be selected in consultation with the respective district administration.