NERIAMANGALAM: His savings from the past 20 years lie in a heap of rubble. Adjacent, a stream one-and-a-half metres has run dry - a far cry from its swollen ways during the great deluge of August. The house owner, N A Madhavan, is still to fathom how such a ‘gentle’ stream could have devoured almost the entire earnings of his life.
“Water from the small stream took everything away, barely sparing our lives and the dress we wear,” he says, unable to control his emotions as he surveys his collapsed house. Madhavan is a resident of Colony, a village bordering Ernakulam and Idukki districts and located close to the Periyar near Neriamangalam. The 60 residents of the village are yet to recover from the impact of the deluge. For Periyar enters Ernakulam district through Kavalangad panchayat under which Colony and Neriamangalam fall. While Periyar flows a few hundred metres from the village, water from the stream rose enough to enter the houses and force residents to shift to relief camps.
“Now, we live in a temporary shed. It isn’t safe to stay here as reptiles can enter at any time. My daughter and her child also stay with me. I don’t know when the government will provide us with the promised aid so that I can reconstruct my house,” Madhavan said. One crisis dealt with, another emerges. This time, of the drier variety.“The well water is going down alarmingly. The stream from the forest, which usually remains alive even in harsh summer, is now dried up,” he said.