Cyril Akshay and Sajin were among the youth evading flooded waters to try and rescue people who were isolated, stranded inside their houses. Kaipattur village in Pathanamthitta district, is a noble example of local people coming together in times of distress. The men in the village have been on their toes since Wednesday evening in view of the precarious situation.
Authorities had cut the power as a precaution to avoid any untoward incident. The men had gone from door to door with the aim of alerting as many people as possible, asking them to leave their houses and go to safer places. Still, several families who remained unreachable, preferred to stay inside their homes. This has worsened the situation with several people left stranded. "But we managed to shift as many people as we could in the night itself," says Sasikumar, a resident of Kaipattur.
The local people have been coordinating the rescue operations among themselves. Akshay and his team braved the floods to rescue a 55-year-old man Daniel. Though other members of Daniel's family had shifted to a neighbourhood, he resisted the move. The youth finally managed to convince him and bring him out of the house. "This is something unprecedented isnâ€™t it? But it is disappointing that some people don't get convinced" says Vijayan.
"Still, we didn't step back and the efforts that began last night are still on," says Rajeev.
Two boats from Kollam arrived at Kaipattur for the rescue operations. Seven fishermen were in the boats deployed by the government. They quickly began the relief operations reaching out to stranded families. Cini and her 10-year-old son were the first to be rescued.
The stranded people are those living on the shores of river Achenkovil, which is overflowing. They were shifted to Babyâ€™s house, which is located at a higher altitude. Since last night, Baby has accommodated another family at his house, that of Valsamma.
"Only both of us were there, my son was crying the whole night. We spent the night on the terrace. I didn't expect the water to reach the top," said Cini. Ciniâ€™s relatives alerted the local people who in turn asked the fishermen to rescue her. "They managed to rescue us from the roof where we were stationed, they did it with utmost care,â€ť added Cini.
Valsamma along with her husband Joy and daughter Bini left home in the wee hours. â€śBy seven in the night, water reached the courtyard and within hours, the entire house was flooded. We won't be able to go back soon. We don't know how the house would be when we are back. We don't know what to do.â€ť
One vehicle was ready to shift the rescued people to a relief camp. â€śThe vehicle is that of our friend, we have been calling each other and coordinating," said Binoy, who offered to drive his car voluntarily.
By the time the vehicle reached the relief camp, local people were waiting to arrange the facilities. In an hour, a vehicle packed with rice, bread and bananas arrived. There were clothes too." We are doing our best to help, at a time like this we shouldn't shy away. But there are people who are still reluctant to move to relief camps in the name of religious belief, we are helpless in that case," says Zacharia, a bank employee, who has been running from one place to the other to help those in need.