TIRUNELVELI/ NAGERCOIL: When it first started, it helped spread cheers; but now, it’s the other way around. The smile on the people’s face has vanished and chaos is taking centre stage. Even there are people starving, for some places have been marooned completely, that too, without electricity, food, drinking water and shelter, all thanks to the torrential rains .
A 24-year-old youth from Vallavilai in Nagercoil said, his family had gone without a meal for a day. “Many in my village are in the same plight. Officials are clearing the trees that were uprooted to make way for rescue teams. Since Thursday morning, there is no power supply as well.”
General Secretary of South Asian Fishermen Fraternity (SAFF) Churchill said, “Since boats of many a fishermen have washed away, rescue teams should arrive. The road that lead to the coastal belt are being cleared. Till now, the 70-member team from Arakkonam have not yet reached Thoothur, Poothurai and other coastal villages. Even though, one boat ‘Vaibhav’ is engaged in rescue operations, people are waiting for more boats.”
Meanwhile, other areas like Kaliakkavilai, Kulasekaram, Surulakodu and Thadikarankonam are totally cut off, since the roads are all blocked by trees that were uprooted in the rain.
The plight of Appukani (68) from a tribal settlement near Pechiparai dam, who has been taking food from the plants and trees around brings to fore the clear picture of the situation the residents are in.
He said, our houses were destroyed in the heavy winds. “The water level is increasing in the dam, and we are not able to contact anyone for help as signal is week,” he said.
SS Davidson, an environmentalist, said that as many as 8,000 Kani people are settled in the hills. If the hills get flooded, the people will be marooned for days.
858 fishers go missing
The members of South Asian Fishermen Fraternity (SAFF) said, as many as 830 deep-sea fishermen on nearly 100 boats and 28 fishermen on seven country boats were still missing. Sources said that as the coastal guards lost GPS coordination with the deep-sea fishermen due to the cyclone. Search operations are still continuing.
General secretary of SAFF Father Churchil said, eight fishermen were rescued by Kerala coastal guards. The 28 fishermen who ventured into the sea in country boats are from Thoothur, Poothurai, Chinnathurai, Eraviputhenthurai, Vallavilai and Neerodi.
“50 mechanised boats worth `1 crore each were washed damaged. In Colachel harbour, 30 mechanised boats were also damaged,” Churchil said. In Thengaipattinam harbour, 35 country boats were washed away.
Ryots still seeing cheer
Terming that the rain is timely, Vivasayigal Sangam District Secretary R Kasamuthu said, “We had not received enough rain for the last two years. This rain will save agriculture.”