KOCHI: Tales of misery, melancholy and despair unfolded before Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan as he visited the relief camps in Ernakulam district. The inmates have been huddled up in the relief camp for the past couple of days. The opening of the dam shutters has marooned their lives. As the Periyar was swelling fast they were shifted to the relief camp. Soon the gushing waters inundated and damaged their houses. The deluge has weakened the walls of the houses which may crumble anytime. With the savings of a lifetime lost, the flood victims stare at a bleak future.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan reached the camp after conducting an arial survey of the flood-hit areas from Idukki to Wayanad along with Revenue Minister E Chandrasekharan and Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala. Pinarayi visited three camps in the district on Saturday. The CM reached the relief centre in Chengamanad Government HSS at 3 pm and spoke to the flood victims.
When 70-year-old Mallikamma, Kandamthuruthu, Chengamanad, who is an inmate of the camp, met Pinarayi Vijayan, her eyes welled up as she revealed her ordeal to the CM with folded hands.
“My house got damaged in the flash flood caused by the release of water from the dam. It is a small house and I am alone. Nobody is there to look after me. I am trying to get my house back in order. I need the help of the government,” said teary-eyed Mallikamma.
After hearing her woes, Pinarayi Vijayan promised that financial assistance would be given to make up for the losses they had suffered. “Let the water come down. The government will find a solution to your grievance. There is no need to worry,” the Chief Minister consoled the residents at the relief camp.
79 families, including 53 children, are staying at the Chengamanad camp. The residents had to rush out of their houses with their few belongings. They said they are scared to return. They are worried about the muddy homes, wells brimming with dirty water, clogged toilets, snakes, leeches and other reptiles crawling inside their houses. Promising to bring happiness back to their lives, the Chief Minister said: “the government is with you. Don’t worry.”
Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala inquired about the facilities available at the relief camp. He asked about the food served in the camps. The inmates unanimously said life in the camp was quite comfortable. There is a common kitchen and all of us are eating together. The food was also good, they replied.
The team also visited relief centres at Kunnukara Ahana auditorium and Puthanvelikkara Kerala auditorium.
Coast Guard team visits camp
A Coast Guard team, including DIG Sanatan Jena, Commander, Indian Coast Guard (Kerala and Mahe) and Coast Guard Ops Commandant K L Arun, visited the Chengamanad relief camp. Sanatan Jena said Coast Guard is continuously monitoring the situation. Five rescue teams are always in the field for evacuation and other operation, he said.
‘CM did not hear us’
Many people at the Chengamanad relief camp complained that the Chief Minister did not find time to address their grievances. Faisal and Kaladharan said the CM did not meet any anyone in the camp, who lost their houses and belongings. Some fishermen said their fishing boat and nets were damaged. “The CM did not hear us. He did not even enter the camp and left after spending a few minutes in the camp,” said an inmate.
Top officers part of team
The team consisted of Chief Secretary Tom Jose, Additional Chief Secretary P H Kurian, District Collector K Mohammed Y Safeerulla, DGP Loknath Behera, K V Thomas MP and Anwar Sadath MLA.