Kerala rains: People in relief camps fear returning home

Idukki: “We are frightened to return to our homes,” said women lodged in a relief camp here after they were forced to leave their houses, which faced the threat of flooding by gushing waters released from Idukki reservoir.

Most of those in the relief camp had to rush out of their houses with only the clothes they were wearing, they said. Muddy homes, wells brimming with dirty water, clogged toilets, snakes and other reptiles crawling inside their houses was giving them sleepless nights, they added.

Nearly 400 flood-affected people, including 85 children from Keerithod in Kanjikuzhy panchayat near Cheruthoni, are in the camp for the past two days as a precautionary measure after water was released from Idukki dam.

Eight villages have been affected due to the release of water from the dam and nearly 1,000 people have been shifted to 20 relief camps, official sources said.

All five shutters of Cheruthoni dam, part of Idukki reservoir, were opened yesterday after incessant heavy rains increased the water level in the reservoir.

This is for the first time in the history that all the gates of the dam have been opened, underlying the gravity of the situation.

“We had to rush out with few belongings. We do not know what has happened to our homes,” a woman said adding people coming from the area told them that water was flowing like “giant sea waves” in front of our homes.

“We are scared to return to our homes,” she said. However, life in the camp was quite comfortable. There is a common kitchen and all of us are eating together, she added.

Tincy, a panchayat member said as prior warning about the release of water had been issued, any kind of human casualty was avoided.

Meanwhile, people living at Kariveli Mannapuram in Aluva in Ernakulam district said mud and slush filled their homes due to waterlogging and well water has turned muddy.

Farmers in Puthenvelikara said about one lakh banana plants were destroyed in the region due to heavy rains and sought the state government to provide compensation.

Bringing in some cheer in their hour of distress, noted South Indian actor, Mammooty, visited a relief camp at Parvoor in Ernakulam district last night and assured all possible help to the people.

“Do not worry. We and several others are with you. What you are going through now is only temporary. You will return to your homes in a day,” the 66-year-old actor said.

Some in the camp clicked pictures of the actor and even posed for selfies with him. The rain fury in the state has so far claimed 29 lives besides causing heavy damage to crops and property.

More than 53,500 people were now staying in various relief camps across the state.