KASARGOD: The last line of defence for the residents of Kasaba Beach has fallen. The 12-feet wall which stood between the residents and the sea for 45 years has crumbled to the fiery sea. The waves now jump past the seawall and hiss at the houses, barely two feet away.
“I cannot sleep peacefully in my house with my two children,” says Vandana, holding her 10-month-old twin girls, Ardhara and Aradaya. Her husband, a fisherman, Babu, lives and works in Kannur. "Cracks have formed on the wall because of the sea surge," she says.
On Friday night, the district administration had shifted them along with members of another 23 families to the Fisheries Upper Primary School, at the end of the Beach road, at Nellikunnu. Collector P S Muhammed Sagir had declared Monday and Tuesday as holiday for the school.
"Seawater has seeped into the kitchen of some houses. That's why we shifted them to the school. We can't predict the nature of sea," said the Collector.
Bhanu Chandran, 48, homemaker, admits the sea is scary now. "I have never seen such a furious sea in the past 35 years," she says. Her son, Manu, 26, a daily wage worker, is standing sentry at their house, albeit helplessly. "After my father died two years ago in a mid-sea accident, my brother and I built this house for `6 lakh. Now it is vanishing right in front of my eyes," he says.
His neighbour, Shanmugan, has tied the coconut trees on his eroding backyard to the boulders, hoping the trees will hold on to the stones from sinking further. Another neighbour has lost a bathroom, vestige of which is a wooden window frame lying on the rocks.
The Fisheries Department says monsoon winds in the range of 45-55 km per hour will continue for the next 24 hours, meaning there will be little respite from the advancing sea.
However, for 50-odd schoolchildren of the affected families, it is fun time. Most of the boys and girls were hopscotching in the corridor. Others were playing five stones. "It is drizzling, otherwise we will be on the ground," says Sharan, a class 5 student of the same school.
Uma Unikrishnan, mother of two young girls, who was cooking for the community at the school, says she hopes the sea recedes soon and she can get back to her normal life. Collector Sagir said that in two other places, the district administration had shifted residents because of sea surge. "After two days, the sea receded and they are back home. Kasaba is the only place in the district where the sea is persistent," he says, and added that the district administration will not hurry to send them back home.
After two days, officials will try to reopen the school by shifting the people to two rooms.