Overcoming A Disaster; The Heroes Of Kerala

Overcoming A Disaster; The Heroes Of Kerala

I won’t just survive
Oh, you will see me thrive
Can’t write my story
I’m beyond the archetype
I won’t just conform
No matter how you shake my core
‘Cause my roots, they run deep…

This is no mistake, no accident
When you think the final nail is in, think again
Don’t be surprised, I will still rise

Katy Perry, Rise

It was 8 in the morning. The skies were dark and cloudy. It looked as if the sun has just set. Then we heard heavy rain splattering against the windows. We could feel the fury of nature, the deep breathes and then the plunge.

I am living in, what can be called, as the safest part of Kochi, Kerala. I watched the news which covered each and every aspect of one of the worst disasters Kerala has endured since 1924. In order to prevent a catastrophe due to overflowing, the dams have to be opened. Starting with the opening of Idukki dam after a gap of 16 years, followed by the overflowing of 41 rivers leading to the flood reaching populated areas. I could only imagine what the situation was like. The landslides brought down homes, plantains, destroyed everything in its way. A lot of people were homeless and many others were running for their lives.

Along with the disaster came optimism.

I witnessed men and women in Kerala make history with their humanity and unity. I saw people come together, preparing themselves for the worst. Backed by the chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan, the most motivating and sanguine individual, Kerala fought her way through this disaster. Amidst all the news channels covering the worst part of the disaster, it was the CM’s press conference that gave us all a sense of relief. “#നമ്മൾഅതിജീവിക്കും “(transl: “We shall overcome“) became a mantra.

I witnessed the police, navy, doctors, nurses, and other volunteers come together… working for the people… expecting less food and sleep. “I will work until I lose my energy,” said a lady doctor, who had been working for 36 hours continuously, to my father who is also a doctor. Several doctors offered free medical services.

I worked at the Regional Sports Center, Kadavanthra as a volunteer. I saw people from different strata of the society come together with everything and anything they could get their hands on to send to the relief camps.

Whenever there is a small rain, the electricity tends to go off for almost an entire day. During this disaster, I feared that it might happen. Instead, the KSEB engineers ensured that the electricity stayed on and they worked during heavy rains.

Almost everyone with access to internet helped in circulating distress calls and announcements related to the needs in relief camps and collection centers. Everyone I talked to was more than ready to help in one way or the other.

Film stars did on-ground work notably Indrajit, Rima Kallingal, and Aashiq Abu. Actor Tovino Thomas spends almost a week in relief camps and collection centers. Malayalis settled all over the world donated to the relief fund.  People with little offered whatever they have for the relief fund. There are NRIs as well as children who broke their piggy bank to donate to the floods. The youth of Kerala who volunteered in relief camps and collection centers delivered manpower and effort worth over 8 crores, for days.

Prisoners in Kerala gave their donations by making food for the survivors and rescue workers.

Then the flood became intense when more shutters had to be opened and due to the heavy rains. It rained as if it would not stop. The water hit populated areas more rashly and there were several spots where even army officials couldn’t go. That’s when our heroes put on their capes and oars and opposed the water currents. The children of the sea. Fishermen with their boats came to those areas where the army couldn’t go. Fishermen of Kerala rescued over 1 lakh people, delivering the effort and manpower.

“We don’t need any money for the work we have done. How can we take a penny from the government when so much money is needed to reconstruct the state?” asks Seldan, a fisherman who helped the rescue operations in Changanassery, in Kottayam. “Even if we do get money, I will put it back in the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund,” he adds.

In Trivandrum collector, Dr. K Vasuki’s own words, the youth of Kerala made history with their unity, raising Kerala from the clutches of mother nature’s fury.

With this unity, children shall grow up with great role models. With great roles comes the model that shapes the state’s future. And, it looks great!

There is still a lot of work to be done and each and everyone’s role counts.

Featured image: India Today

Bibliophile, movie geek, Writer, Aspiring author, Wannabe entrepreneur (working on startups), Founder of Felicity online and blogger @reelisticviews.


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