Kerala floods one month after: Vellathooval farmers struggling to find their feet

Farmers in Vellathooval, a quaint village in the suburbs of Munnar, were hoping for good yield after two consecutive years of deficit rain.

Published: 15th September 2018 07:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 15th September 2018 01:45 PM   |  A+A-

K M George, a farmer at Kallarkutty, in his seven-acre farmland which was wiped off by a massive landslide on August 17 | A Sanesh

Express News Service

MUNNAR: Seventy-year-old K M George, a farmer at Kallarkutty, is desolate. The fruits of his 40-year-long labour were wiped off by a massive earth flow on the night of August 17.

“My seven acres of farmland was swept away by the landslide,” George said.“There were 550 nutmeg trees, 1,200 cocoa plants, 100 coconut trees and 400 arecanut trees along with rambutan, mangosteen and many rare species in my farmland. There was a dairy farm too, with 10 cows, that lies buried under the debris. We couldn’t save even a single cow.”  Also wiped out was a 1,000 sq ft fish farm, a biogas plant and a compost pit. 

“I managed to save the four workers on the dairy farm. They were shifted to my house two hours before the landslide,” he said. A huge tree with a 450-inch girth got uprooted in the landslide and was dumped around 200 m away at the foot of a hill. “The loss runs to crores of rupees. I won’t be able to rebuild the farm in my lifetime. I have submitted an application for compensation to the village authorities,” he said.

Ravikumar of Pulickal House in Vellathooval, a tailor, and his wife Latha searching for valuables among the debris of their house destroyed in a landslide on August 14 | A Sanesh 

Dashed hopes
Farmers in Vellathooval, a quaint village in the suburbs of Munnar, were hoping for good yield after two consecutive years of deficit rain. However, the fortnight-long extremely heavy rainfall that started on August 7 has drowned their hopes.

A series of landslides devastated the village and left hundreds homeless. A month after the floods, the authorities are unable to close the relief camp at the Kathippara Lower Primary School as 38 people belonging to 13 families are sheltered there. They have nowhere to go as the landslides have swept away their houses, farmlands and livelihoods.

Yet to receive Rs 10,000
Ravikumar of Pulickal House in Vellathooval shifted his family to a relative’s house on August 7 as the front portion of his house was damaged following heavy rain. On the night of August 14, the house was destroyed by a landslide. “We stayed in the relief camp at Salyampara PMLP School till August 21. After the camp was closed, we shifted to a relative’s house. I am a tailor and don’t have the means to build a new home. The village authorities inspected the house a few days ago. But I haven’t received the I10,000 compensation,” he said. Alice Joseph, 62, of Thannikott, whose eight-room house was destroyed in a landslide on August 16, said she too hasn’t received the I10,000 immediate relief from the government. 

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