2018 Kerala floods survivors: These one-year-olds have tales to tell

Mothers of three kids born during last year’s deluge thank the Navy for airlifting them to hospital in the nick of time.

Published: 27th August 2019 01:59 AM  |   Last Updated: 29th August 2019 05:03 PM   |  A+A-

Kerala floods

Jismi and her daughter Hanna Maria (L) and Sajitha Jabeel and her son Subhaan (R). (Photo | A Sanesh, EPS)

Express News Service

KOCHI: Little Subhaan, Aaradhya and Hanna Mariya will be celebrating their first birthday, as the state observes the first anniversary of the worst flood in a century, amid the prospect of another devastation now.

Their mothers - Sajitha Jabeel, Krishnendu and Jismi - were in the advanced stage of pregnancy when floodwater inundated their houses last year. In deep anguish, they perched on top of their houses amid gushing waters and crumbling buildings. But, in the nick of time, rescue workers managed to shift them to relief camps. From there, Navy helicopter crew airlifted them to the INHS Sanjeevani Hospital at Kochi Naval Base. 

A year after, the giggles of the toddlers help them forget the ordeal, but they are facing a similar problem. One of the women is expecting her second child. A resident of Chowara Kondotty near Aluva, Sajitha reached the relief camp at Kondotty Muslim Hidayathul Islam Madrassa along with her two children on August 16, last year. As the ground floor of the mosque became submerged, the trio shifted to the first floor waiting for the arrival of rescue workers.

At 11 pm, Sajitha’s water (amniotic fluid) broke, putting the life of the mother and child in danger. As the pain increased, other people in the camp sought the help of Indian Navy through social media. Based on the information, a Navy helicopter managed to find Sajitha at 8.30 am on August 17. But rescuing Sajitha was a challenge due to the inclement weather and the presence of large trees in the area.

Finally, a commanding officer descended on the terrace using a rope and briefed Sajitha about the rescue operation. A doctor was lowered to assess her condition. Then she was strapped onto a harness and winched up to the helicopter, which remained steady for 30 minutes before she was taken to the Navy hospital. 

“We reached the hospital at 9.30 am and I gave birth to Subhaan at 2.12 pm,” she says. “This name was given by a Navy officer. It was a normal delivery. He is a gift from God. We call him ‘Chuppu’. But the people in the locality call him ‘Son of the deluge’.”

P Krishnendu, a resident of Thiruvalloor near Paravoor, reached the relief camp at Kunnel Church on August 15 after her house was submerged. As she was in the advanced stage of pregnancy, inmates contacted the Navy. She was airlifted at 8.30 am on August 18.

“The Navy winched me up to the copter in a big basket. The weather was inclement and high winds made the rescue challenging. The rope was swinging both ways and I thought it would crash against the teak trees all around. The cramp in my underbelly was becoming unbearable,” Krishnendu told Express.

At the Navy hospital, Krishnendu regained her health. Later, she was shifted to a private hospital at Aluva, where she gave birth to Aaradhya on September 4, 2018. Similarly, Jismi Antony, of Thiruvalloor, was airlifted by a Navy helicopter from Kunnel Church at 2 pm on August 18. Jismi gave birth to her daughter, Hanna Maria, at the Navy hospital on August 20 last year.

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