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Kerala floods: Daring team spirit helps footballers rescue 300 families

'It is sad that the authorities could not set up a relief camp in the area anticipating the disaster,' said Saidumon Thangal who has been organising relief works for the flood-hit from the market.

Published: 12th August 2019 10:16 AM  |   Last Updated: 12th August 2019 05:34 PM   |  A+A-

Members of Kasma Football Club at Kuriyad rescue people stranded on the first floor of a house on Sunday.

Members of Kasma Football Club at Kuriyad rescue people stranded on the first floor of a house on Sunday. (Photo | Albin Mathew)

Express News Service

MALAPPURAM: They know how crucial it is to net a goal in the given time. With sheer willpower coupled with a daring team spirit and acumen to sense time left, a few young players of a local soccer club rose to the occasion and rescued around 300 families who were caught unawares as floodwaters gushed into their houses on Sunday.

ALSO READ: Survivor of Kerala landslides recalls nightmare of lifetime

As the incessant rain continued to batter the region from August 7 night, a group of youngsters of a football club immediately kick-started a massive rescue operation, along with the workers of a market at Kuriyad, near Kakkad, and shifted women, elderly people and children to safety.

Shabeeb Ali and Azeem Shakkeri of Kasma Football Club at Kuriyad were quite sure that they shouldn’t wait for the government rescue team as the water level started soaring at an alarming rate and gushed into the houses from a tributary of the Kadalundi river.

The duo immediately rang up their clubmates Shifan K and Arshad V K. The boys were quick to act as Arshad sat with a toolbox, a lorry tyre tube and wooden plank, and in no time the temporary raft was ready for action.

“It is sad that the authorities could not set up a relief camp in the area anticipating the disaster. So we decided to relocate the rescued people to houses situated in safer spots in the locality. The market at Kuriyad was also converted into a relief camp to coordinate the rescue and relief work,” said Saidumon Thangal who has been organising relief works from the market.

“Though many residents abandoned their houses on August  7 morning, fearing the repeat of the deluge of 2018, many stayed back. Once the water level started to rise drastically, people gave out cries of help,” said Shabeeb Ali.“They weren’t sure how much water would rise this time. Many moved to the first floor of their houses. But on Sunday, we insisted them to leave their houses and camp for safer spots,” said 24-year-old Arshad.

Saidumon Thangal, on the other hand, did his bit after learning that no proper relief arrangements were in place at Kuriyad. He summoned the workers of a local market to make arrangements for preparing and distributing food for hundreds of victims being brought to Kuriyad junction.

“We roped in support from various corners to shift the rescued people to the houses nearby,” said Thangal.
Vengara Sub-Inspector N Muhamned Rafeeq, who has been camping at the spot, said the police had already issued a warning to locals about the impending disaster. “We were able to get in touch with the locals, who coordinated the rescue and relief operations.”

Meanwhile, the residents fear the flooding is going to be a routine affair. “This is for the second consecutive year that my house has gone underwater. I have been living here for the past 15 years and there has never been a flooding history until the August 2018 catastrophe. Exactly a year later the second flooding has taken place, “ said a horrified Saidali Mullakoya Thangal of Jamalullia Manzil, whose house was submerged on Friday night.



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