THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: It was an emergency evacuation drive. The distress message was from a woman who was seven months pregnant, trapped in the interiors of Thiruvalla. The team of fifteen deployed the life raft, swam along with the raft, for a distance of 12 kilometers. And when they finally reached the trapped woman, she informed them she would rather stay.
“She said she felt like she might get a fever and so gave the emergency evacuation request. And that she was stable and would rather stay. The raft should not be wet as we would be rescuing a pregnant woman and so the team swam along with the raft for the entire stretch,” says Abraham George Tharakan, a professional rally driver whose team of rally drivers from the city had helmed rescue operations in the floods. But such lows in the rescue mission do not stop these Good Samaritans from the city who dived in for the rescue operations.
It all began three years ago when the whole of Chennai was inundated due to the floods. The team of rally drivers set off from the city with their beasts. It was the first floods they were going to render their services for. “Only when we reached there did we know we could contribute immensely in the rescue operations,” says Abraham. So when the recent floods gorged on different parts of the state, they were all equipped. The team of professional rally drivers under the AT Rovers rode to the deep interiors for the rescue mission.
And thus they set off, 30 professional rally drivers with their mean machines. With 14 four wheel drive vehicles having water wading ability of up to 5 ft, they traversed the rough, inundated interiors of the state to rescue those trapped by the waters. Each night after the rescue, they would return to Trivandrum, and when the riders try to catch up on their sleep, their machines would be worked on by the mechanics of AT Carmodz, so that it will be ready by early morning for the mammoth search and rescue operations.
The search and rescue operations began on August 15. Day one saw the team rescuing those in the city and by the next day, they set off to the deep interiors. “We had a few members working on the distress messages. After verifying the messages and identifying the location coordinates, all the information was shared to us,” says Abraham. The data entered into the spreadsheet was replete with every detail required for conducting the evacuation and was also shared with the Navy. Now the team has immersed themselves in the cleaning mission.
At present, a team of fifteen is cleaning up a slum in Ranni. “Help is being extended to those who are not financially capable of arranging cleanups,” he adds.
The rescue mission continued up till Tuesday, rescuing a total of 42 adults and a one-month-old infant. “This was an environment we could control as we had the vehicle and expert drivers,” says Abraham who owns AT Rovers. “What was difficult during the rescue operations was that most people would not co-operate in the rescue mission,” he adds.