Swell waves destroy house, damage four others at Chellanam
KOCHI: Already battling the Covid scourge, Chellanam is suffering another onslaught now after swell waves battered the coastal region. On Sunday, giant waves destroyed a house and inflicted partial damage on four homes in nearby Kumbalangi village. Sea erosion is also pretty severe in ward 1 and 13 of Njarakkal village. K D Prasad, vice-president, Chellanam panchayat, said even those regions which had remained immune from flooding caused by sea erosion in the past, have been affected this time round.
“The panchayat is home to over 50,000 people, of which around 10,000 live along the 17.5 km-long coast. Many of these houses are under the threat,” he said. At Bazaar and Companypadi, currently, two houses are in danger of getting washed away by the sea. “Also, the fact that the sea level has risen considerably over the years is not very comforting,” said Prasad. According to him, on Monday, which is the new moon day, the sea will be at its fiercest. “Presently, Chellanam is a hotspot and under triple lockdown. Earlier, when the sea breached the shore, the residents used to move in with their relatives.
However, with the Covid protocol in force, the residents are forced to live in the flooded houses,” said T A Dalphin, convener, West Kochi Coast Protection Committee. People can’t live in the wet houses, he added. “The government needs to come up with a solution soon. The life, property and livelihood of residents are at stake here,” he said.
According to Dalphin, “We have been asking the government to construct a strong sea wall along the coast. Geobags and tubes are no match for the fury of the sea.
At some places in the panchayat, the waves breached the sand bar erected as protection, “ he said, adding, the residents have simply no idea as to what to do. Prasad said the people had stayed put in their homes for the past three weeks. And worried residents have been calling up, seeking permission to move to safer places. “Last year when the sea breached the shore, people were moved to camps set up in the schools and also the community halls. However, this year due to Covid, those options are no longer there. We have asked the district administration to come up with a solution,” said the vice- president of Chellanam panchayat.