CHENNAI: Around 50 Irular families in the remote Kadal Kanniyur village, about 7 km from Pulicat lighthouse, have been stranded and going hungry for the past one week, with flood waters marooning their hamlet. The situation in villages surrounding Pulicat lake got worse due to the storm surge and heavy flow in Arani river. The Pichatur dam in Andhra Pradesh’s Chittoor has been releasing massive amounts of flood water as well, adding to the woes of residents.
“People in this village lack basic amenities like proper toilets and housing. The village is secluded and currently cut-off,” S Ravi, a villager, told TNIE. “We didn’t have electricity for four days. On Saturday evening, electricity was restored for an hour, and again cut. There is no food or clean drinking water. We are depending on tender coconuts from a few trees in the area for quenching our thirst. So far, no help has come.”
It has also been a ‘no work, no food’ situation for many. Saroja (56), a widow who makes broomsticks, said after the monsoon started, there has been no work or income. The houses in the village were built in 2007 by Christian charity organisation Kindernothilfe of Germany. About 32 Irular families were rehabilitated here, but the number has risen to 50 over the years, leading to lack of space.
Open defecation is another huge problem in the area. Even teenage girls are forced to openly defecate with houses lacking toilet facility. Eventhough, toilets were built in 2018-19 under the Swachh Bharat Mission, villagers said the toilets were left half-built and lack drainage or water connection.
All approach roads to the village are flooded. Ponneri MLA Durai Chandrasekhar told TNIE that a lot of villages in Pulicat are flooded. “I will ensure relief materials reach Kadal Kanniyur as soon as possible.”