KOCHI: Chellanam, the coastal panchayat bordering Ernakulam and Alappuzha, witnessed its worst-ever sea attack on Thursday since the Ockhi cyclone of 2017. Over 500 houses in the locality were inundated. Now, people worry that high waves will continue to hit the coastal settlements owing to Maha cyclone in the Arabian sea. Water seeped into houses in 19 of 21 wards of Chellanam panchayat in the morning. “Seawater intrusion started around 1.30am. By 7am, there was knee-deep water in my house. During low tide, it started receding,” said Louis, a native of Bazar at Chellanam.
“However, we won’t be able to sleep properly until the high waves cease,” he said.
District Collector S Suhas has directed the residents to move to relief camps in view of the possibility of another intrusion in the coming days. The camps have started functioning at Leo Public School. A 20-member team of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) is also stationed in the area.
“With the water receding in the afternoon, residents are yet to move to relief camps. However, a further seawater incursion will affect toilet and potable water facilities. Another camp has been started in Kumbalangi panchayat where Chellanam residents will be shifted in case of emergency,” said Chellanam panchayat president Mercy Josy.
Fishermen, who form the majority of Chellanam’s population, have been affected the worst by Maha cyclone. “It has almost a week since we went out to fish. If the high waves and the cyclone continue, people here will have nothing to eat,” said Xavier, a native of Companypady.
Coastal road flooded
The coastal road from Chellanam to Ernakulam was flooded from Kannamaly to Companypady. Traffic was also affected in the morning. Several houses developed cracks.“Usually, sea erosion happens in June and July. However, for the past few years, cyclones are hitting the coast this time of the year. Water enters houses during high tide. Most of the houses that were repaired after Ockhi are inundated again,” said Xavier.
Thousands of people living along the Ernakulam’s coastal belt spent a dreadful night on Wednesday and early Thursday after cyclone Maha intensified in the Arabian Sea, bringing heavy rain, followed by sea erosion. Chellanam and Nayarambalam were hit the worst.
As per the Kerala State Disaster Management Authority, seven camps were opened in the district, in which 1,378 people from 481 families were sheltered. The inclement weather brought with it the demand for a permanent solution to end miseries of coastal residents. Express scribesToby Antonyand Anilkumar T and lensmenAlbin Mathew and A Sanesh travel to the disaster-struck regions to bring the hardships of the people there
Kochi: Considering the adverse weather conditions and chances of sea attack, the Ernakulam district collector has declared holiday in all schools and colleges, including professional educational institutions, in Kochi, Kanayannur and Paravoor taluks on Friday. The collector has urged students not to consider it an occasion to celebrate and said they should not visit areas experiencing inclement weather. “Everyone should act as per the seriousness of the situation,” he said.
brought to Kochi
A joint operation by Indian Coast Guard and merchant vessel MV Chrimson Knight, five fishermen of IFB Samool fishing boat were rescued from the sea off Ponnani. There were six members in the Thiruvananthapuram-registered boat. One of the crew members is missing. The rescued fishermen were brought to Mattancherry wharf on Thursday afternoon.
A relief camp has been opened at LMCG High School at Chathyath for residents of Thanthonni Thuruthu island.A total of 54 families are sheltered here. They include 76 men, 94 women and 40 children