KOCHI: Fear gripped the families living in the coastal areas of Kochi on Friday with the sea turning very rough under the influence of cyclone Ockhi. This is perhaps the biggest sea attack since the tsunami of 2002,Ernakulam district administration with the help of the police and the Navy evacuated as many as 250 families from the coastal villages of Chellanam, Kumbalangy and Edvanakkad after the sea barged into their houses on Friday morning.
Around 180 families were evacuated from Chellanam to St Mary’s High School. Eighteen families were evacuated from Edavanakkad and Kumbalangy.According to local residents, at around 9 am tidal waves reaching a height of two metres entered the houses in the coastal area. The seawall and cement sacks filled with sands at Chellanam were no match for the boiling sea and collapsed like a deck of cards.
The waves washed away traditional boats and nets, leaving the fishermen with no alternative means to earn a living. They even don’t have access to potable water because the pipeline got destroyed when the canals were widened using an earth mover.“The waves rushed in due to absence of sea walls at Chellanam. The situation is going to become worse in the coming days,” said Biju P, a resident of Chellanam.
According to the residents, the authorities have always turned a blind eye to their grievances. “Though similar incidents keep occurring every year nothing has been done so far. This time around the situation is more serious. We have been complaining to almost all the authorities concerned but no action has been taken till now,” said Biju, adding the seawall is the only possible solution.Thankachan, a local fisherman, said, “There is no such problem at the southern side of Chellanam. However, the situation is worse on the northern side. We are unable to go fishing.”