NAGERCOIL: Hope is what keeps fishermen ticking. Dependent on a moody mistress for their sustenance, without hope, they are lost. However, when a congregation prayed fervently for the safe return of three fishermen missing at sea, it seemed the gathering at the Manakudy Church here was hoping against hope. It has been over 10 days since the three fishermen went missing. Unconfirmed news of their drowning trickled in, but the families are yet to let their belief in miracles go.
Of the three families, two came down from Colachel for the special mass. Speaking to Express, Mary Kala (43), whose husband Sahayaraj is missing, said, “Every time, my husband ventured into the sea, we would worry over his fate and pray for his return. Fishermen are known to survive even in difficult situations. However, this time around it’s different. It has been 10 days since he went. It’s next to impossible to survive for more than two days after falling into the sea. However, I still hope for his return. What if he swam shore to some island or was saved.”
However, Mary kala’s optimism is not shared by those flanking her. A relative told Express, “She has two daughters and we do not know how she would provide for them. One of the girls is in class XI and the other in third. We do not have money to help them out. They might have to dropout.”
While the womenfolk refuse to stop hoping, veteran seafarers are not that sanguine. A senior fishermen says, “It is hard for a fisherman to stay alive after slipping into the sea. He could be saved only if he latches on to some log or a drum. If he stays in water for over seven hours, all hope is lost.” However, the families hope on, as there is little they can do apart from that.
Taking stock after calamity
Revenue officials stated that 1,096 houses were fully-damaged, while 3,936 were partially-damaged in the aftermath of Ockhi cyclone and `2,16,17,600 has been sanctioned to be provided directly to their bank accounts. Officials stated that `10 lakh had been credited to the accounts of the kin of 10 people killed in Ockhi. “In Kanniyakumari, as many as 706 medical camps were set up during Ockhi and 33,069 people benefited from it. Sanitary workers were involved in eradicating mosquitoes and were using Vehicle Mounted Fogging Machine.”
As many as 75 generators were used for electricity supply in 375 villages, and in 769 villages, drinking water is supplied through electric motor. 18 primary schools and nine middle school buildings were damaged. While 15 building were renovated through rural department, renovation of 12 buildings were underway, officials stated.