The raging water from the Idukki reservoir in Kerala has left behind a trail of destruction along its path. In one of the worst natural disasters that the state has seen, 37 people have been killed and over 35,000 people have been moved to relief camps.
On Thursday, Mohanan P and his family were fast asleep in their home in Kanjikuzhy village in Idukki district. At around 3 am, he woke up to the sound of his dog barking, usual for that hour. The man tried to ignore it. But as minutes passed, the bark grew louder and the dog started howling.
“It became a very unusual distress howl. That’s when we realised something was wrong. I went out to see, and we had just rush out of the house,” Mr Mohanan told NDTV.
When Mr Mohanan and his family stepped out to check on their dog, they noticed the impending disaster. All of them stepped out in the nick of time before their home was destroyed in a landslide.
As Kerala comes to terms with the disaster, many stories of people helping others in distress have emerged.
An elderly couple living in the same building, on the floor above Mr Mohanan’s, were killed in the landslide. They had just moved to a house on rent, a kilometre away from their own house, which was on the banks of Periyar river – after warnings from officials.
“Officials had alerted us that there could be flooding due to opening of dam shutters. So, we had to move out. We took a house on rent. But a landslide killed my grandparents and destroyed the rented house. People managed to save my wife and one year old daughter”, Bibin, the couple’s 24-year-old grandson told NDTV.
His own house on the banks of Periyar too is completely destroyed. Bibin’s wife and daughter were rescued by another man. The wife was stranded in waist-deep rubble, holding her one year old child before she was rescued.
24-year-old Bibin’s wife and daughter were saved from waist-deep rubble.
In Idukki’s Kanjikuzhy village alone, there are 12 relief camps, with around 128 families in just one camp.
Incessant rain and landslides have ravaged farmlands and prompted massive evacuation efforts in Kerala.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has announced a compensation of Rs. 4 lakh to families of those who lost their loved ones, and Rs. 4 lakhs for those who have lost their houses. The chief minister has also announced for compensation up to Rs. 10 lakh for those who have lost both, their land as well as house.