Picking up pieces after floods, people recollect horror

Picking up pieces after floods, people recollect horror

The modest house that Ghani built after two decades of hard work is now in shambles, unfit to live. (DH Photo)

After years of moving from one rented accommodation to another, Mohammad Ghani, a father of three, had finally managed to construct a house of his own, but the unprecedented rains and floods that hit Chalakudy, have once again forced Ghani to scout for houses to move his family into. They are currently living with a relative.

The modest house that Ghani built after two decades of hard work is now in shambles, unfit to live. Chanathanadu, the locality near Chalakudy main market, bore the brunt of the flooding since it was close to the Chalakudy river.

“I was living in rented houses for more than 20 years and it is only now I got to have a house of my own. And now only muddy walls, broken furniture and spoiled utensils remain with me. Even the gas cylinders are not working. I have now begun looking for houses to ensure that my family has a roof over their heads,” Ghani told DH.

Though Ghani has managed to convince his relatives to accommodate his family for a few days, the majority of people in the area now live at the Panampilly Memorial Government College in Chalakudy, one of the nearly dozen relief centres in the town.

Almost all residents of Chanathanadu managed to escape from their houses before they got flooded. The locality looks like a ghost town with almost every house broken and damaged materials and articles strewn on the streets.

“I have come from the relief centre to clean my house. Nothing has been left by nature. I lost my home and I am now worried about my son Titus, who is studying in the eighth standard since all his textbooks and notebooks have been damaged. I have nothing more to lose,” Shaji, who drives an auto-rickshaw to eke out a living, said.

Not just his house, Shaji lost his auto-rickshaw – the only source of income for the family – in the floods and is now clueless on how to earn bread for his family. Shaji had managed to buy a refrigerator and television through instalments, but not even a semblance of their existence is found anywhere near the house.

Since Chalakudy was under water for nearly five days and the local market is slowly getting back to its feet, not many cleaning materials are available. “I have come from the relief centre to clean my house, but I have no material left to clean. Even bleaching powder is not available in the market. How do we clean?” Byju, a daily wage labourer, said.

In the locality, one could see people trying to forget last week’s bitter experiences and take baby steps towards leading a normal life. A few yards away, Jolly, a 62-year-old man, was seen drying up certificates, Aadhaar cards and other crucial documents of his grandchildren outside his house.

As the water receded in Chalakudy and with normalcy slowly returning, youngsters who helped the fishermen in rescuing those perched atop their houses, recall the harrowing experiences that they underwent. “The water currents were so high that we just could not travel in the boats. It is with much difficulty that we went to locality after locality to rescue people,” Biju, a local who helped the rescue operations, said.

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