KOKKAYAR: On Saturday noon, when Makochi, a tiny terrain region near Kokkayar in Idukki, was in the throes of downpour accompanied by gusty winds and thunder, Sasidharan, 72, was not anxious about a landslide.
However, when he heard the noise of something falling on the roof of his sheet-thatched house and noticed the rise in the water level of the Kokkayar river, the six-member family moved to another house that was under construction nearby. Though Sasidharan and his family escaped, some of their neighbours were not as lucky as them.
“By 11.30 am we heard the sound of something falling into our roof. Suddenly, I noticed the rise in the water level of the river flowing in front of our house. The sound seemed to rush past us immediately and in the blink of an eye, our house crumbled. My wife Leela, son Rajesh, his wife Sindhu and daughters Vandana and Nandana, were safe along with me. But my ancestral home was destroyed in a fraction of a second,” said Sasidharan, who still couldn’t come out of the shock of the disaster.
During the heavy downpour, several residents of Makochi shifted from their houses after the river swelled. “Around 25 families reside in the area. Seven houses were destructed and seven lives were lost,” he said. Sasidharan also sustained injuries on his ear while helping his granddaughters escape.
The news of the accident took almost six hours to reach the outside world as roads were blocked and power and communication lines were snapped in Kokkayar. Though he was saved, witnessing the accident of his neighbour Shaji who fell into the river to save his 12-year-old son has shaken Sasidharan. He burst into tears while recalling his association with Shaji.