KOCHI: The worst sea attack ever after the Ockhi cyclone caused partial damage to nearly 350 homes along coastal areas in Chellanam. With the seawater intrusion occurring in areas such as Bazar, Companypadi and Maruvakkad, several families were forced to take shelter in their relatives’ houses.
According to the residents, the toilets, kitchens, furniture, electronic items, clothes and books were completely damaged when seawater seeped into their houses during high tide.
“It took nearly one year for us to repair and rebuild the houses after the Ockhi attack. But Monday’s sea erosion again made us orphans as 350 houses in Chellanam area were partially damaged. If the authorities had taken proper steps, we would not have faced such a situation. We also want to live here,” said Jimson, a Chellanam resident.
Even the wall constructed with sandbags to resist the waves failed to prevent the seawater from seeping into their house. “After the onslaught of Ockhi last year, many of them had raised the gates and the walls to resist the entry of seawater. But it was not enough to resist it. Since the saline water entered the houses, the walls will get damaged easily. The officials’ apathy is the main cause of such damage,” said Melton A, a Chellanam resident.
Meanwhile, the district administration’s move to shift the residents to a rehabilitation centre failed to materialise as most of them expressed stiff resistance to move out from their houses. “We don’t want to end our life in relief camps. Every year, we have to spend our lives in the camps. Bedsheets, rice and vegetables are not the things we want. We want to live in a safe house. For this, a seawall is necessary,” said Joy Arackal, a Chellanam resident who has taken shelter in his neighbour’s house along with his family. Meanwhile, the panic situation intensified as the sea remained rough on Wednesday. “Normally, the sea would be calm within two days. But it remained rough. If the swell waves pound the homes we will be forced to leave the premises,” said a fisherman.
Steps taken to install geotubes
District Collector Mohammed Y Safirulla who visited Chellanam on Wednesday said steps have been taken to install geotubes at four major areas. “Some unfortunate incidents happened but we have resolved the issue. The geotubes will be installed within a week. The grievances faced by Chellanam residents will also be informed to the govt,” the Collector said