Express News Service
NEDUMBASSERY: For more than 300 families of Avanamkodu, a settlement close to the walls of Cochin International Airport, Nedumbassery, an alert just a few hours before the flood could have prevented the damage they are facing now. The village is yet to recover from the shock as people continue at relief camps even as water has completely receded from the area.
Kutty. 75, faced a similar flood in 1961. But the damage was not so grave. “When water was released from Cheruthoni dam two weeks before, it didn’t flood here. So we did not expect a flood. On August 15 morning, there was news flashing there might be possibilities of flood in Ernakulam. However, we were confident the water level will be normal here. At around 10 am, the boundary wall of the airport collapsed and the entire water in the airport started flowing to our village. Within three hours, the water was at waist level inside my house. We had to run away leaving all the equipment and documents behind. My house was completely submerged,” she said.
The villagers Express met claimed no alert was given to them. “If the authorities had told us about flood 12 hours before, we could have shifted necessary items to safe places. The women and children had to escape with the dress they wore,” Wilson another resident said.
The agriculture lose is severe as plantain and nutmeg plants are completely washed off. It was the youth in the village who saved lives of majority of the residents as they swung into rescue operations even before any agencies could arrive.
“It is not an easy task for rescue agencies to reach here. The water was increasing at an alarming rate. Soon, we asked the residents to move out. First we shifted the elders, women and children in available vehicles. The place was marooned after water entered from four sides. Luckily, there was no casualty,” Sudeep, a local resident, said.
Most of the residents spotted snakes when they returned from camps to their homes. “It is terrifying to live here at nights. Snake may hide in between roofing tiles. I spotted four cobras and kraits at the compound of my house,” Biji, another resident, said.
Reji, the ward councillor of Nedumbassery panchayat said the residents will have to stay at relief camps for at least a week, as majority of the houses are damaged.
300 families of Avanamkodu hit by the flood