Cyclone Ockhi survivor in Kerala recounts ordeal at night

Four days after ‘Ockhi’ hit Chellanam, Annamma Pouly, 67, is yet to recover from the troubles she went through to shift her 74-year-old immobile husband from their house as sea water gushed in during

Published: 04th December 2017 03:08 AM  |   Last Updated: 04th December 2017 10:55 AM   |  A+A-

Annamma with her husband at a relief camp set up in St Mary’s LP School, Chellanam | Melton Antony

Express News Service

KOCHI: Four days after ‘Ockhi’ hit Chellanam, Annamma Pouly, 67, is yet to recover from the troubles she went through to shift her 74-year-old immobile husband from their house as sea water gushed in during the middle of the night.

READ | Cyclone Ockhi UPDATES: Here is all you need to know

Her husband Kunjappan alias Pouly is inflicted with severe rheumatoid arthritis and when sea water started gushing in by 7.30 pm on Friday, the family - comprising their son, daughter-in-law and their three children - had to rush to a safer location. The elderly couple’s son Joseph, a fisherman, is not in a position to lift heavy stuff after he met with an accident while at sea.

READ HERE | Unofficial death toll rises to 30 in Kerala; 92 fishermen still missing

Sitting in the relief camp at St Mary’s LP School, Chellanam, Annamma narrated the ordeal they went through. “We did not know what to do,” she said. The mother and the daughter-in-law somehow managed to lift Kunjappan and waded through the water along with the three kids and Joseph. Later, the local residents and authorities shifted them to the relief camp in the wee hours.

ALSO READ | Go to sea or not? Son of dead Kerala fisherman faces uncertain future

“When I came back to our house, it was already flooded and I had to return empty-handed. I was able to change my dress only after going to my daughter’s home on Sunday morning. I came to Chellanam in 1971 after marriage and I had never experienced a similar plight,” she said. They had not moved out even when the tsunami hit the Kerala coast in 2004.

“The seawall near our home has not been repaired yet and now the sea water comes rushing in.” Her concern is about how to clean her house where the water has deposited black sand and mud. “The septic tank and well have overflowed making the entire premises filthy. I don’t know what to do,” she said.
“Old people used to say sea erosion occurs on full-moon days. So, it is not safe to stay at night on Sunday in our houses as it is a full-moon day,” said Annamma.

As many as 546 persons from 130 families are staying in the relief camp at St Mary’s LP School while the Pothanthodu GHSS nearby houses 68 families. However, the numbers may go up during the night as the possibility of sea erosion is high. Though roads have been cleared, private buses have not yet commenced operations to Chellanam. In the ‘Ockhi’ aftermath, two persons lost their lives and seven houses were completely damaged in the district.

Minister visits fishermen in hospital

Kochi: Health Minister K K Shylaja on Sunday visited the seven fishermen, undergoing treatment at the Government General Hospital after being rescued from the sea.The fishermen explained the travails they underwent to the minister, who assured them help from the government. The minister said she will do the needful to get them transported back to their native places. “The government has announced compensation for those affected by the cyclone. Hospitals were asked to gear up to tend to the victims,” she said.

Schools turn relief camps

District Collector K Mohammed Y Safirulla has declared a holiday on Monday for schools in Ernakulam, which are functioning as relief camps for those affected by cyclone Ockhi. The schools are: Government UP School, Edavanakkad; St Mary’s HSS, Chellanam; Puthanthode GHSS; Devivilasam LPS, Velliyathamparambu; Govt Fisheries School, Njarakkal; Ramavarma LP School, Cherayi; Bhagavati Vilasam HS, Palathamkulangara; St Joseph Convent, Kannamali; Al Falhiya Madrasa, Edavanakkad, and St Francis Church Parish Hall, Kandakadavu.

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