'Fight' for house threatens to disrupt relief camps

The relief camps for the fishers affected by sea erosion at Valiyathura are intruded by families claiming to have lost their homes in an earlier incident

Published: 29th April 2019 05:31 AM  |   Last Updated: 29th April 2019 05:31 AM   |  A+A-

A woman standing on the verandah of Government UP school, Valiyathura,one of the relief camps opened up for families affected by sea erosion  B P Deepu

Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The misery of the fisherfolk at Valiyathura has no end, be it the odd monsoon season or the deprivation of the rightful share of the fishermen by people residing nearby. While some families demand a home for survival post the sea erosion which damaged their homes, others in the camp demand compensation for their loss.

Two camps have been opened at BUD UP school and Government UP school in Valiyathura ward by the district administration.As many as 19 families are residing in BUD school and 10 families in the Government UP school. Six of the 19 families were already residing in the school from March 19, when they lost their house.

Lajithal Solomon, a heart and kidney patient, is the resident at the relief camp at BUD UP school. "My brother's two-storeyed house and mine were ravaged and destroyed in the recent sea erosion. I don't demand a house but at least the government should give us the required compensation," she said.
"There are families residing in rented houses near the camps. They arrive in the morning, utilise the items and food distributed to the affected victims, and leave at night. They stand as a hindrance to the families who want to speak to the authorities, including the MLA and the mayor who recently visited the spot," said an inmate in the camp.

"Such families who are accused in utilising materials claim they  have lost their homes in an earlier sea erosion incident and have not yet received any compensation. So they arrive at these camps to claim their compensation despite living at rented homes instead of camps," said Valiyathura ward councillor Sheeba Patrik.

District collector K Vasuki said such matters will be investigated and immediate action will be taken. "We have provided accommodation for 16 new families recently," she said.Mayor V K Prasanth said land has been sanctioned at Mutathara for constructing homes for the Valiyathura fishermen.  

The wait for a home

Residing families said after media reports about the lack of facilities, food, water and other essentials have been provided. "I have two teenaged daughters. I hold a sheet around them when they change their clothes due to lack of space here," said Mariya Lisi, a 37-year-old woman who lost her house during earlier sea erosion. "I just hope the government provides us a small house soon," she added.     

'Facilities have improved now'

The inmates in the camp are rather satisfied with the facilities and help provided by the authorities and other independent organisations at Valiyathura ward after persistent complaints. Mayor V K Prasanth on Saturday visited the camp and distributed relief kits. He has also made temporary arrangement for toilet facilities by providing bio-toilets, lack of which was one among the major complaints in the camp. The mayor has also directed the corporation health staff to keep a regular check on health-related issues.  "We are receiving basic relief materials including food and water in the camp now. And we are satisfied with the help being provided to us by various organisations," said Lilli Mani, a woman in the camp. The Sathya Sai Orphanage Trust, Kerala has taken up the responsibility to serve food for the victims of the soil erosion who are residing in the two camps opened at Valiyathura ward. It has taken up the task to provide food for three months to the families residing in both camps. The trust has commenced their duty to deliver the food to the affected families from Saturday night.

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