KOCHI: As they returned to their homes to take stock of the situation after three days at various relief camps, the sight that welcomed them is not pretty: refrigerators taken over by African snails, television sets and washing machines water-clogged and the floors that are filled with water and dirt.
"We are here for cleaning the house. We will return back to the relief camp in the evening," said Ambika Anandan, who complains that she's yet to get the washing liquid and the bleaching powder from the local authorities.
Her husband T S Anandan, a lottery ticket seller for the last 30 years, says a fortune has been lost in the rains and the consequent opening of the Idamalayar and Idukki dam last week. "Our washing machine, fridge and several other electric equipments were lost in the flood. We have to rebuild everything from scratch again," he says.
Further down the road, C P Usha, chairperson, Eloor Municipality and her team including M A James, vice-chairperson and Chandramati Kunjappan, health chairman, were on the field overseeing the cleaning and rehabilitation drive. "A team led by CPM workers have been involved in distributing bleaching powder (calcium hypochlorite) and quicklime to households. It will take several days for the situation to return back to normal," said Usha, adding that nearly 86 per cent of the water has receded in the area.
Shivan R, joint secretary of CPM Eloor East Zone, who lives in the area, has been volunteering along with 400 DYFI comrades from Thrikkakkara to help the people in cleaning up their houses, besides distributing bleaching powder to the households.
A clutch of the houses at the 15th ward of Eloor belongs to Tamils, who have made this their home some 42 years back. "We have faced even harsher floods during 2013. We had lost everything then. Though the government had promised all help then too, nothing came in our way," says Periyaswamy, when told about the government promise of Rs 10 lakh for those who have lost their houses, and Rs 6 lakh for those who have lost their land.
Adds his neighbours Ezhimala and Selvaraj in unison: "We have to rebuild ourselves then, and we will rebuild it now."