NELLIAMPATHY: Joycee, 24, was nine months pregnant on August 16 last year when the land around her house came crashing down. The family was living in the ‘paadi’ (quarters) of the Brookeland estate, 5 km from Nooradi here. There were 11 members in the house at the time her parents, Ayyappan and Maniamma , her husband,
Mariappan her two children, Amal Krishna and Anushree, her siblings Manikantan and Devika, besides nieces Nivedya and Athira.
“We had been living here for the last 5 years. We heard the clang of vessels. It is usual for wild boars to eat the remains of food in the vessels kept outside the house. Or else, it could be the wild elephants roaming in the area. It was 1 am. Then there was a loud thud.
“We tried to step out of the house but the land in the front yard was missing. It had caved in. We scrambled out through the other side and took refuge in the house of Masaani, my elder sister who lived nearby in an elevated place”, says Joycee, as her third child Rithul Krishna, now 11-months-old third, whom she was bearing at the time of the disaster, plays around.
After encountering a lot of hardship, Joycee and her family have now left Nelliampathy and moved to her husband, Mariappan’s house in Sethumada rambikulam in Tamil Nadu.
Mariappan says, “We will like to go back to Nelliampathy as in Sethumada there is work only during the monsoon. The women labourers are paid only `170 per day while the men get `300. In Nelliampathy, we will get job in the estates throughout the year”.
Says Ayyappan, her father, “The five km-long road from Brookeland estate via Victoria estate to Nooradi had been washed away at many places . Therefore we were unable to move out.”
There was no power or mobile connectivity. It was after one week that the officials of the Health Department arrived at the spot. My daughter Joycee was im shifted to the Primary Health Centre and from there to Nenmara. She gave birth within a few days and the hospital authorities arranged an ambulance and accompanied her to Sethumada.