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Kerala rains: A day later, Koottikkal a graveyard of hopes

A pall of gloom descended on Koottikkal panchayat on Sunday, a day after landslides killed several people and washed away many houses in the high range areas.

Published: 18th October 2021 02:58 AM  |   Last Updated: 18th October 2021 02:58 AM   |  A+A-

Muhammed Aslam near the debris of his two-storey house which was destroyed by the swollen Pullakayar at Koottikkal Chappath

Muhammed Aslam near the debris of his two-storey house which was destroyed by the swollen Pullakayar at Koottikkal Chappath. (Photo | EPS, Vishnu Prathap)

Express News Service

KOOTTIKKAL: Muhammed Aslam, 68, of Kadavukara house lost his home in barely 24 hours. Floodwater reduced his two-storey house at Koottikkal Chappath to debris. A pall of gloom descended on Koottikkal panchayat on Sunday, a day after landslides killed several people and washed away many houses in the high range areas.

Scores of families like Aslam’s lost their dwellings due to the heavy flow of water from the hills. While government officials are yet to fully assess the severity of the damage and determine the exact number of buildings destroyed, hundreds of houses on a two-km stretch along the banks of the Pullakayar, which flows through the middle of the panchayat, were seen either partially or completely damaged after the water level in the river rose about 15ft from normal a day earlier. 

“When the water level started rising by Saturday afternoon, my wife Seenath and I moved to my relative’s house on the opposite side. However, water entered there too, forcing us to shift again. When we returned after water receded on Sunday, all we saw was a heap of debris,” said Aslam. 

The heavy flow completely washed away Rasheed’s house at Chappath. Rishitha of Kattamala house had to carry her bedridden mother on her shoulders to escape. K M Shahul of Kochalumoottil house and his family lost everything too.

“We rushed out of our houses empty-handed. There is nothing left in the house. The river swept away everything. We are now wearing dresses given by our neighbours,” Shahul said. The heavy rain and landslides led to flash floods in the Thalunkal, Yendayar and Kokkayar rivers, tributaries of the Pullakayar. 

“I had never heard of such a deluge in Pullakayar. The water level rose over 15ft in Koottikkal town. People couldn’t take any precaution as the river breached the banks and swallowed nearby areas within minutes,” said Varghese, a Koottikkal native.

Hundreds of people from Kodunga, Ilamkadu and Koottikkal Chappath areas have been shifted to relief camps at St Mary’s School, Koottikkal and J J Murphy School, in Yendayar.



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