An entire state has been affected by floods and nothing has been spared. In these hard times, the city residents rose to the occasion,volunteering, donating relief materials and giving a new definition to selflessness. Many work relentlessly from early morning to late night, setting a new standard. This city never sleeps. Until it gets the state back on its feet
The saviours on boats
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM:With the rescue operations entering into the last phase, one cannot forget the contributions of the fishermen. Over 700 fishermen from Vizhinjam to Anchuthengu coastal belt went to worst flood-affected areas including Chengannur, Pandanad, Thiruvalla and other parts of Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha and Kottayam districts on Thursday evening in 127 boats to carry out rescue operations. Many fishermen returned to their homes by Sunday evening but many still continue to remain back making the last-ditch efforts to rescue the stranded ones.
Though they had to face fuel deficiency, the good coordination between the local administration and the fishermen helped the latter to carry out the operations smoothly.The boats were transported in trucks till Adoor. From there, the boats were taken to the affected areas. Several lifeguards from Kovalam and Varkala too joined in the rescue operations. According to K V Josie, president, Chethi Matsya Vikasana Kshema Thozhilali Sahakarana Sangham, over 50 fishermen in four boats concentrated on rescuing the stranded in Aluva and nearby areas.
“They began their endeavour at 6 am and stopped operations only when it became difficult to navigate the waters in the dark. Even then, we did carry out a few operations with the help of torches,” he said.
These fishermen used boats made of thermocol besides the bigger fibre boats. “In places where it was difficult to take the bigger boats, we depended upon the thermocol ones. These are small and can be handled by a single person. With the help of these boats, we were able to enter houses to evacuate the elderly and the sick,” he added.
These fishermen rescued over 2,000 people from Aluva, Kodanad, Vallom, Kalady, Pallikara, Paravur, Gothuruthu, Munambam, Kuttanad and Edathua. “We were called in by a college in Aluva seeking help to collect and transfer over 10,000 certificates from the administration office on the second floor to the fourth floor,” he said. The fishermen continued rescue operation on Monday too.
According to Antony Thayil, district president, Kerala Swatantra Matsyathozhilali Federation, the hearts of these fishermen are as large as the ocean.“We have no qualms when it comes to getting out there and rescuing people. At present, I am helping with relief works at the three camps set up in Chellanam. The coastal police have been of great help. Since we didn’t know the layout of the land, we sought the help of the locals,” he said.
(With inputs from Aathira Haridas, Steni Simon, Deena Theresa, Krishnachand K)