Mumbai: Kerala has been facing one of its worst floods since 1924. In many areas, people continue to be stranded and calling the helpline does not seem to result in rescue missions in their villages. One such example is of West Chalakudy village, in Thrissur district.
Right now, 20 children are currently taking shelter in IRMLP school, located behind the Our Mother of Perpetual Health church, which is providing sanctuary to 500 villagers from West Chalakudy. In the village, resident Devassy Kalan, 63, a retired man, is stranded on the terrace of his home. Kalan, the children and others stranded in West Chalakudy are right now without food, water or electricity.
Kalan’s family members, both in Kerala and Mumbai, have left messages on the state’s official helpline. However, no help had arrived until late night on Friday. Finally, on learning about the rescue work undertaken by the armed forces, a family member called the Indian Navy for help.
“We have taken down the location and contact details of Mr. Kalan. We will extend all possible help and convey it to the rescue coordinators,” assured the navy spokesperson.
Kalan lives off the main Mala Road in Chalakudy and his house is located on a high altitude. Since Wednesday, Kalan was in touch with his sister, Kochuthresia, who lives in Andheri, and has been giving her detailed updates on the flood situation in his village. Kalan had readied for the disaster, equipped with a stock of two days of food. Since there is no electricity in the village, he would switch off the cellphone most of the time, except when he had to make calls to be in touch with his sister and her family.
“Till Wednesday, Kalan said he could see the flooded road from his house. He had stocked food supplies for two days and said he was safe. However, he did mention, he had moved to the terrace of his two-storeyed house,” said Kochuthresia.
Kalan remains marooned on his terrace. His immediate neighbour left on Wednesday for his daughter’s home in north Kerala, which has remained free of flooding. Kalan’s elder brother and nephew saw the water-level rising and moved to a friend’s house in another neighbourhood. “Kalan and our elder brother are on good terms, but they have separate families. Kalan chose to stay back since he preferred to believe the rising waters would not reach the second floor of the house. We are also shocked the flood waters have risen so high,” said a worried Kochuthresia.
Interestingly, the last such devastating floods in Kerala occurred in 1924, which according to the Malayalam calendar, was in the year 1099. “My father was young when he witnessed the last floods in our state. He was 14 years old. Since then, the floods are called 99,” said a worried Kochuthresi.