Express News Service
MALAPPURAM: Nadichi’s eyes bear a profuse sadness as she stands at the wreckage of her house at Mathilumoola colony. The flash floods and landslides that struck the colony in Chaliyar panchayat on August 8 washed away her house, along with those of her neighbours. “I saw houses collapse in front of my eyes. The memories will haunt me forever. I cannot bring myself to live here even if we get new houses,” she said.
The 60-year-old lives in quarters in Akambadam after she shifted from a relief camp and is here to feed her cow. In Chaliyar, the worst-hit panchayat in the district, 40 houses were wrecked in the deluge at Mathilumoola colony which was home to 54 families, including 21 tribal and 23 SC families. At Chettiyampara colony, a few kilometres from Mathilumoola, eight houses were completely destroyed, while landslides killed seven. The colony had 16 SC and ST families.
“Residents of the two colonies are reluctant to stay in their houses. We need to build 70 houses to rehabilitate them,” said Chaliyar panchayat president P T Usman. According to the president, while the government and the district administration have assured a comprehensive rehabilitation package, there is nothing on the go yet.“We need 100 houses to be built to rehabilitate victims whose houses were damaged completely,” Usman said.
While the panchayat authorities believe they could make use of the 25 acres available with the Forest Department, the panchayat does not have the money to build houses.“In fact, the government grant helps us run our day-to-day affairs. We have to get funds from the government for rehabilitation,” Usman said.
More at ease in camps than at home
There are 17 families from the two colonies at the relief camp functioning at Eranjimangad orphanage, while 36 families were shifted to rented houses and cottages. Others are staying with relatives. Things are better in relief camps than at homes for those who moved to rented houses. Food, clothes and other necessities are available at the camp where a temporary anganwadi functions for children.
37 families set to be moved out
Malappuram: The district administration is set to rehabilitate 37 tribal families belonging to Mathilumoola and Chettiyampara in Nilambur. The plan is to shift them to a safe place where fresh houses will be set up. According to Integrated Tribal Development Project (ITDP) district officer T Sreekumaran, residents of the two colonies are not ready to go back as they are now scared by the threat of floods and landslides. The officer said land will be identified according to the condition of the families.