In a land known for its boats, Kerala is today staring at a scenario of lack of enough boats for flood relief operations.
Kochi: With all major roads under water, the only lifeline for rescuing people are boats. But in a land of boats, there are not enough for rescue operations. This is because of the enormity of the rescue operations.
Lack of enough boats is hampering rescue efforts in places like Ernakulam, Pathanamthitta and Thrissur districts.
Many in flood relief camps said that they are having a tough time. “Places we never expected to have flooded even have got inundated. Even those areas where relief camps are situated have got marooned. Since Wednesday night, we are not even getting food,” said Seby V Bastin, councillor, Aluva Municipality.
With flood waters started entering Kochi city in areas like Edappally, Ponekkara, Perandoor and Elammakkara on Thursday late evening rescuers and relief providers are not able to reach the marooned without boats. Some were rescued by navy and coast guard choppers.
As rescuers ran short of boat for rescue operations, Matsyafed (fisheries wing of Kerala Govt) was asked to provide boats. “We handed over seven onboard engines and eight country boats to the fire and rescue department,” said George, district manager, Matysafed.
Fire and rescue services personnel from Aluva fire station rescued many persons stranded in the nearby areas. “We have deployed more than 200 personnel. Still, we are unable to attend to all the calls. However, we could save some families,” a fire and rescue official said. Many living in areas like Bank junction and Uliyannoor also had to be moved out.
Many residents were stranded in Eloor, Desham, Purayar, Chovvara, Kadungalloor, Chendamangalam, Paravur, Kalady, Angamly, Nedumbassery, Athani, Kanjoor, Malayattoor, Manickamangalam, Malayattoor, Kodanad, Marampilly, Keezhmad, Vallam, Okkal, Perumbavoor, Muvattupuzha and Kothamangalam areas. With the help of Navy and Coast Guard, some of the stranded persons were airlifted. The flood situation in Ernakulam has already started to hit essential services including transport, power and water supply, hospitals, telecom and shops.
As the national highway near Thottakkattukara and Companypady junction in Aluva was flooded, traffic through the road became impossible. Functioning of KSRTC bus station and private bus stand was completely stopped. Train services had to be stopped considering possible inundation of railway overbridge near Aluva station.
Power supply to Kochi city was disrupted after water entered KSEB substation at Kaloor. A district-level control room began functioning at Pathadipalam rest house. There is a total of 269 camps housing 1,433 families and 52,604 people.
A team of more than 100 officers belonging to various forces were involved in the rescue and relief operation. Boats and rafts became a major requirement as roads submerged.
A 60-member team of Police and Fire Force personnel is camping at Aluva. A 14-member disaster response team of Coast Guard has been deployed at Chelamattom region coming under Muvattupuzha division.