Kerala's Kavalappara weeps over youth who rescued many

Aneesh's cousin, Dileep shows his photo on the phone (DH Photo)

As scores of earth-movers plow over acres of the landslide-hit area of Kavalappara in Malappuram district, not only the family members of Aneesh, most people in the locality are praying for him.

Thirty-eight-year-old Aneesh, who is one among the 13 more persons still missing at Kavalappara 12 days after the landslide, met with the tragedy during a bid to rescue people.

Aneesh, a social worker in the locality, along with his friends could rescue about 40 persons who were trapped in a flooded area in Thodumutty near Kavalappra on August 8, just ahead of the landslide.

Aneesh's cousin Dileep, who accompanied him in the rescue operations at the flood-hit areas, recollected that on August 8 evening when they returned after rescuing people at Thodumutty, someone in Kavalappara alerted that some people were trapped in the rising water level in a stream at Kavalappara. A tribal head of the locality also suspected chances of a landslide.

ALSO READ: Untold stories of narrow escape at Kavalappara

Aneesh, along with his friend Jayan, immediately rushed to Kavalappara to urge people to move away from the locality. But all of a sudden, the land caved in.

"By the time we reached there, 44-odd houses of the area and people were buried alive. Jayan got away with injuries as he was thrown away by a tree that uprooted," Dileep told DH.

Aneesh was the lone breadwinner for his bed-ridden father Gopalan, mother Chandrika, wife Aswathy, eight-year-old son Athul and five-year-old daughter Anagha. He was supporting his sister's family and was planning to construct a new house. Aneesh, who runs a cement shop at Kavalappra, was an affable social worker, said Kavalappara native Jayaprakash.

Even 12 days after the tragedy, 13 persons including Aneesh were still missing. Even the ground-penetrating radar system turned to be futile due to the presence of too much debris and mud formations at Kavalappara, which is about 20 kilometres from Nilambur town.

Another person missing was Jishna, the sister of an Army employee named Vishnu. All members of the family except her younger brother Jishnu were victims of the tragedy. Ten members of a tribal hamlet of the locality were also missing.

Kerala Fire and Rescue Services and volunteers are engaged in the search operation. Most relatives of the victims who waited near the debris watching the rescue operations seem to have lost hope. "But we would be continuing the search until we receive directives from the top," said a revenue official in charge of the rescue operations.

Dileep said that as days passed by, the family was trying to come to terms with reality. "After waiting for a couple of days more, we will be proceeding with the last rites of Aneesh," he said.

Meanwhile, many people of the locality were upset over the statements made by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and some ministers over people who did not move away from the area despite being given alerts.

"There were many like Aneesh who got trapped while trying to rescue people. The government's statement had literally framed all victims in a bad light," said Dileep, adding that the warning given to people of the locality by the authorities didn't reach them.

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