As Kerala reels with one of the worst natural calamities in its history, evacuated people at relief camps say their worst nightmare is far from over.
24-year-old Bibin, a driver, lost his grandparents in a landslide, on Thursday early morning around 3. 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 told NDTV. His own house on the banks of Periyar too is completely destroyed.
Subeesh CC who managed to rescue Bibin’s wife and daughter, says, “I had just managed to take my wife and children to a house which was safe. And that’s when I got a distress call from a person saying this woman is stranded. When I saw, she was stranded in waist deep rubble, holding her one year old child. And after that we don’t know how we did what. Somehow managed to save them and take them to safety.”
Subeesh CC saved 24-year-old Bibin’s wife and daughter
But the horror was not for just for one family. The family living below the house, say they managed to rush out in the nick of time because of their dog. “At 3 pm, the dog started barking. And then the tone changed. 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,” Mohanan P told NDTV.
But the landslide kept falling, across the road. 59-year-old Maniamma was awake at her house due to the heavy rain. Her house is opposite to Bibin’s , but across the road and at lower height.
“I was having a sleepless night. And, suddenly I heard loud sounds. I knew it was a landslide somewhere. I grabbed my 10-year-old granddaughter and ran out, but the rubble had reached my house. We all including my son and daughter-in-law, jumped out of the rear window of our house and ran for our life”, Maniamma told NDTV. Their house still remains inundated in the rubble.
In Kanjikuzhy panchayat of Idukki district itself , there are 12 relief camps, with around 128 families in just one camp.
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.
In what is being claimed as unprecedented havoc due to rain, the chief minister has appealed for people to donate to the Chief Minister’s Distress Fund.