People living in remote villages, hilltops and valleys of Kottayam, Idukki and other districts in Kerala are still panic-stricken. It all happened due to floods and landslides occurred there when the unprecedented rains enveloped the entire state; Idukki and Kottayam districts were worst hit. Several houses, the symbols of ‘dream come true’, of hundreds of people disappeared within few minutes. Several human beings were washed out by killer waters. People who could save their lives were left with only the clothes they wore. All other belongings flowed to far away places beyond the reach of their owners. Those villagers are still in the grip of fear, thanks to the devastating trails of calamities.
Heavy and fatal downpour started by 7am on October 16. It prolonged for three hours continuously. Since it was day time and heavy rains stopped most of the people from going out for their work, heavy loss of human lives was averted.
Day light helped the people to seek safe shelters because they could see the psunami of strong flow of water with their naked eyes; hence death toll did not go up.
Several villages from Eerattupetta to Vellavoor of Kottayam district were washed out. Roads were swallowed by the deadly waves. Bridges were taken away by the waters. As the power supply totally collapsed, relief activities were stalled. Grama Panchayaths like Poonjaar, Koottikkal, Kokkayaar, Peruvanthanam, Mundakkayam, Kooruthod, Chirakkakadavu, Vellavoor, Erumeli, Kottangal, Anikkad and Mallappalli which lie in the peripheries of Kottayam, Idukki and Pathanamthitta districts were seen totally submerged in the waters. Koottikal, Kokkayar and Mundakkayam were devastated.
Hundreds of landslides took place in those areas. Hundreds of acres of land were washed out along with huge rocks, uprooted trees, and houses. More than twenty human beings lost their lives. More than 2,500 houses and commercial establishments were totally demolished by the flooding water. Household appliances, goods and vehicles underwent total loss. Loss of crores of rupees ! Vehicles were seen flowing in the floods. Roads, bridges and electricity supply system were washed out; the loss incurred by this is yet to be fathomed.
Water level went up to such heights first time after 1956. When water level came down the scenes were shocking, heart-breaking and beyond words. One such pathetic incident was the death of the entire six member family. Three of them were little children. Several children have died in those places. Those who got the advantage of close shave suffer fear psycho. More than 2,000 people still live in relief camps. Hundreds of families are in dark; they lost their houses; they do not know where to go to sleep and dine. Farmers lost their agricultural fields. Huge masses of rocks are seen spread in their lands which made the cultivation there a highly unlikely condition in future. The houses which survived the fatal flows suffer serious damages and fragility. Most of them are partially damaged. Houses are filled with soil and mud, impossible to enter ! Domestic wells are filled with mud too, totally useless.
No idea how long it will take to restore power supply and bring the roads back to normal usability. It is nothing but a fact that worst sort of disastrous life is in store for the people post floods.
Intervention of Sangh-oriented Sevabharathi workers served as a silver-line in the otherwise dark, scary and frightening condition in Kottayam, Idukki and other flood-hit districts. Sevabharathi workers had reached, on foot, Kootikkal and other flood-hit dangerous zones. They started the relief activities immediately. They had walked twenty five to thirty kilometers to reach there. It was on October 16 when the outside world was not aware of what was happening on hilltops. Next day morning more Sevabharathi workers came there. And, cleared the roads.
They took hundreds of people to relief camps. It was Sevabharathi workers who reached the danger zones where the people remained isolated. Sevabharathi workers joined army and other ‘state’ agencies to trace the missing people. Sevaharathi workers, basically RSS swayamsevaks, reached the houses of avalanche-hit areas and consoled the victims and brought essential commodities to them
, including food. About Rs 4 lakh worth clothes were delivered to the victims on October 17 itself. They brought food to the people who did not move to the relief camps but remained home. Sevabharathi arranged ambulance service to the needy. They deployed doctors in the relief camps in view of the Corona danger.
Sevabharathi workers resorted to cleaning campaign in the areas where flood water had started to withdraw. They have already cleared thousands of houses and about 500 wells which were filled with mud. More than 1,500 Sevabharathi workers joined hands for cleaning campaign. Pranth Pracharak, Pranth Karyavaha and Pranth Seva Pramukh of Kerala RSS came to the flood-hit areas for coordinating the relief activities.
Still lot of activities are to be taken up in the flood-hit lands. Loss of books and other educational materials of the children is a serious issue to be addressed. Sevabharathi has taken necessary steps in this regard. Thousands of people are in need of shelter. Hundreds of houses are partially damaged. Several houses are at the brink of collapse, thanks to the killer floods and avalanche. People who have lost their media of employment like autoriksha, agriculture, agricultural equipment, agricultural fields, etc. are badly in need of relief and assistance. Therefore, rehabilitation faces several challenges.
The victims have realized that these challenges can not be addressed or resolved through governmental interventions alone. Therefore, Sevabharathi is planning designs to solve these issues with the active participation of the society. Sevabharathi believes that the entire society will rub their shoulders with them (Sevabharathi) in this great and noble venture.