RANNI: Since he was born, C G Mathai, 75, has been living in his ancestral home on the banks of the Pampa at Perunad in Ranni. On September 11, when Express visited him, Mathai was busy noting down the expenses he had incurred so far in cleaning his house after the floods. Beside him, his wife Annamma Mathai was rubbing off dry clay from a wooden cot.
They have been at it since August 20, the day when the water which entered their homes finally receded. Since then, the couple has been spending at least eight to 10 hours every day cleaning every nook and cranny of their house. Still, a lot of work remains pending as all the pieces of furniture have been damaged. Mathai’s total losses due to the floods have touched Rs 2.5 lakh. Cleaning his well alone cost him Rs 20,000 while four persons had to be paid Rs 1,000 per day for four days to remove the clay and slush from his house and premises.
“I have to shell out close to Rs 50,000 for cleaning and repairing the house. Though it is a good thing we received Rs 10,000 in our bank account from the government, the sum is paltry because cleaning the well itself cost Rs 20,000,” said Mathai.
“It will take at least two more months for life to get normal,” he said.
Mathai and his wife were the lone inhabitants of the house when the water came gushing. When it rose to the first floor, the couple fled and sought shelter at the home of Mathai’s cousin on the other side of the road.
“I have seen some heavy monsoon seasons earlier. But never did the water reach the plinth level of my house,” said Mathai.
“The authorities really messed things up by allowing the dams to get filled to capacity and suddenly opening all the shutters,” he said. Their children are settled abroad. Mathai said there were many homes in the locality where only aged couples lived.
Where is the money?
C V Varghese, 70, who lives 8 km away at Angadi, is clueless as to why he hasn’t received the interim aid of Rs 10,000 announced by the government in his account.
“I registered in a camp. So far, no one has visited our home to take stock of the damage. We lost all our furniture and home appliances,” Varghese said.
Varghese and his wife Marykutty were the only persons in the house when the water entered it. “We stayed on the first floor for a day. But when the water level kept rising, we were shifted in a boat. So far, we have spent close to Rs 60,000 for cleaning the well and the house,” he said.