KOCHI: Sitting in a classroom at the St Sebastian’s Higher Secondary School, Kanjoor near Aluva, Ammini was in despair. The octogenarian, who was shifted to the relief camp on Thursday morning after her house was inundated, shared her anxiety to anyone who cared to listen.
“Our houses were flooded in 2013 when the shutters of Idamalayar dam were opened. The Chengal canal overflowed and many families had to be shifted to relief camps. But now, with the Idukki dam shutters also opened, we fear the loss of our property and valuables,” said Ammini.
Relief camps are not new to the people in Thuravumgara, which is situated near the Cochin International Airport. The huge boundary walls of the airport block the water from Chengal canal, causing floods in the area.
This time, the grim situation upstream has them panicked. At present, there are 450 families living in the Kanjoor school. And women are the worried lot. “We sit inside the camps worrying about our property and valuables. We do not know when will the water recede and when we can go back home,” said Saritha, a resident of Kanjoor.
Meanwhile, panchayat and village authorities are taking all the precautions to avoid the situation go out of hand. “As a precaution, we have asked the people to shift to the relief camps. Many areas in Thuravumgara are affected. Several elderly people have been shifted to the nearby primary health care centre,” said Thuravumgara grama panchayat vice-president Honey Davis.
Separate arrangements have been made for men and women in the camps. The St. Sebastian’s Church and rural banks offer us great support, she added.
Four houses - belonging to Rafeek, Siddhique, Naushad and Ashraf - in Vattathara in Kanjoor grama panchayat was inundated by Thursday night. They lost all household appliances and valuables. “At night, when water level rose inside their homes, we brought them to the relief camp.
Most families are reluctant to leave their homes, as they fear thieves may break in the abandoned houses,” said Albin Antony, a ward member at Chengal. “We killed two snakes that came crawling into our house last night when the water gushed in. We knew things could go worse if we stayed back. So we moved to the relief camp,” said V K Thankappan, a resident of Vattathara.
Though the district administration and the authorities concerned are taking steps, people worry about disease outbreak. “Five people have been admitted to the disease hospital with fever. The medical officers, councillor and standing committee members are on the vigil at the relief camps,” said P Ashokan, Health Standing Committee chairperson, Thuravumgara grama panchayat.
‘Chemicals safely removed’
Kochi: Almost 90% of the chemicals stored at factories in Eloor industrial belt has been removed to safe areas, said district collector Mohammed Y Safirulla here on Friday. All steps have been taken to ensure the chemicals do not mix with water, he assured.
After attending a meeting at the Aluva taluk conference hall to evaluate the situation, Safirulla said “the factories are safe and instruction has been given to the companies to ensure a safe and restricted moving of petrol, diesel and dangerous chemicals.”
The collector has also asked for a report on the current production levels, the persons in-charge of the plants and the precautions taken by each plant. The plants won’t be affected if the water rises up to 3 metres. Representatives from FACT, BPCL and IOC, along with PCB officers and Department of Factories and Boilers officers were present at the meeting.
Potable water will be ensured: Min
Koch: The review meeting held here on Friday has decided to make arrangements to provide potable water as many regions were left without safe water in Kochi city and its suburbs along the course of the Periyar river. Measures will be initiated to tackle the grim situation across the regions. Essential supplies will be rationed to the people affected by floods, and not just to the people sheltered in relief camps started in different locations.
If the Civil Supplies Corporation alone cannot carry out the task, the procurement of food items from agencies outside of the government will also be considered, Revenue Minister E Chandrasekharan told reporters after the meeting held at Aluva. The minister has also urged the people to perform ‘vavu bali’ on Saturday after taking adequate precaution.