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Service before self! A silver lining in a bleak hour

Thrissur district panchayat member K R Sumesh is at the forefront of efforts to clean houses and help flood-hit victims.

Published: 28th August 2018 04:43 AM  |   Last Updated: 28th August 2018 04:43 AM   |  A+A-

Damaged materials from houses thrown away as a result of the floods

Express News Service

KOCHI:Amid the trail of death and destruction caused by the state’s devastating floods, there has been a silver lining, though, with several persons from all walks of life immersing themselves fully in getting the affected rebuild their lives.  These, include those in fatigues, NGOs and volunteers, besides the people’s representatives.

The good samaritans provide continued assistance to the flood-hit to clean up their homes.  K R Sumesh, Thrissur district panchayat member, is one of them.When water flooded the houses and displaced people, he was at the vanguard of efforts to move them to the safety of relief camps. “There were 22 camps in Melloor panchayat. Of these, around six camps are still functioning,” said Sumesh who has been running three camps at Koratty.

According to Sumesh, the sight was a heart-wrenching one. “People had to leave behind everything. They came in the clothes they had been wearing at the time they were rescued. It was a mad rush to get these people settled in the camps and find essential items like food, water and clothes,” he said. To provide an endless supply of hot meals at these camps, Sumesh opened a community kitchen.

“Food was prepared and distributed to the various camps,” he said. “However, at present food is not what these people need. They need to  restore the homes to their pre-floods condition. But we don’t know when this will happen,” he said.Sumesh has been  actively involved in cleaning up around 42 houses in one of the four residential colonies in Chalakudy.

“There are four colonies in Chalakudy, with the break-up being 52, 42, 30 and 22 houses. We need a lot of volunteers and a large amount of cleaning supplies to make these houses habitable again,” he said. Even after cleaning the houses twice, they are far from being habitable, he added.According to Sumesh, nothing in these houses  is retrievable. “They will have to throw away all the vessels, furniture and gadgets. These people will have to start from the scratch. Cooking food using these vessels is a sure invite to diseases,” he said.He appealed to the  NGOs and individuals to adopt at least one area.

“People  should come forward to donate household items like vessels and basic furniture,” he said.
Taking note of his appeal on the Facebook, a well-wisher congregation of London-based Malayalis, has offered to donate 21 kits comprising steel vessels and other essential household items.Besides the household items, Sumesh and his team have taken up the initiative to provide books for the children of these colonies.

“We have provided over 2,200 books to PG, degree, Plus II and even the lower class students. Every colony has more than 60 children studying in various classes. These children need books,” he said.
Waste management is also posing a major problem. “At present, we are simply dumping the waste collected from the houses in one place. We have to come up with a solution to this. But we will be thinking about it later,” he said.



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