Five days later, flooded Aluva in shutdown mode

Five days later, flooded Aluva in shutdown mode

Five days since the river Periyar rose and flooded its banks, many shutters are still down in Aluva. The town, about 25 km from Kochi, was on alert after all five sluices of the Cheruthoni dam in Idukki were opened, raising concerns in areas on Periyar’s banks.

The first round was largely incident-free but last week’s flooding has dealt a telling blow. For those who saw the 2013 flooding — set off by discharge from Idamalayar dam into Periyar — as a benchmark in flooding levels in the town, this has been a grim update.

Binu K, whose family runs a printing business near the town, says the water rose quickly, leaving no time for a back-up plan. “We just had to pack the expensive equipment and shift to the upper floors and leave. Cars parked near the building were submerged,” he says. On Tuesday, many parts of the town had muddied cars and motorbikes abandoned on slushy interior roads. Residents were also seen returning to their cars — armed with cleaning chemicals and helpers — after the water receded.

Most of the hotels are closed till the weekend and power disruptions have also hit businesses. “The rooms are getting readied but it will be a while before the plumbing issues are fixed,” says a hotel manager. The flooded Kochi international airport, about 12 km away, has shut down operations till August 26. At 11 am, the only sign of life in the town was the back-to-form traffic on its showpiece bridge across Periyar.

The Kochi Metro station was low in activity after signalling issues led to disruptions in service.

The nearby areas of Perumbavoor and Kalady were also severely hit by the flood. Thousands were housed in relief camps after low-lying areas in Ernakulam district were flooded.

On Tuesday, more people were returning from camps to their homes, only to start extensive cleaning. Chandrika, a resident of Chengamanad, was among hundreds who took their furniture out to dry and scrub.

“We had left our home to live with a friend. The house is severely damaged but we are better off — we keep hearing stories of people losing valuables and important documents,” she says.

Across the state, 3,119 government-led squads were engaged in house-cleaning activities on Tuesday.

Antivenom is being made available in taluk hospitals. About 52,000 volunteers have registered to undertake flood relief work in the state.


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