Twenty people, airlifted from Pathanamthitta early on Thursday morning, who stayed in a government high school in Thiruvananthapuram, thanked social media and the rescue personnel for saving their life.
“Until Wednesday night, we were taking shelter on the terrace of our building with limited food and resources. When we realised that we won’t survive without real help, we posted a plea on Facebook Live. Then it was shared by people and somehow it had reached the rescuers, and we were saved early in the morning,” Subin M Stanely told The News Minute.
Subin and his friends were airlifted by the rescue personnel in a helicopter.
“As there was no place to land the helicopter, a rescue personnel came down using a rope, tied us to him one by one and lifted us to the helicopter. It was quite scary. There was heavy wind and rain at the time. However, the rescue personnel were quite confident that they would be able to rescue all of us,” Subin added.
Subin and his friends were rescued from a theology institute at Thottamon, Ranni, in Pathanamthitta district.
They were brought to Shanghumugham Airbase and transported to the high school in Thiruvananthapuram City by bus.
According to Happy Tomy, a friend of Subin, who was also rescued, if they had not gone live on Facebook, their situation would have worsened.
“We had only rice. There was no drinking water. For the last two days, we were having only on a rice soup of sorts. There was nothing else to cook and, moreover, we couldn’t cook anything on the terrace as it was raining continuously. There was only a small part that was dry. There was no power supply too. Somehow, we managed to charge the phones using computers,” Happy said. “The situation in Ranni is worse than imagined and thousands are stranded.”
Among the rescued, six are from Kerala and the rest are from other states who were studying in the Theology Institute.
Meanwhile, the school officials said that they are ready to shelter more people and they have enough food stocked, apart from other essentials.
“We have been told by police officials that more people would be brought to the school in the coming hours. We are prepared,” Santhosh M, the Parents-Teachers Association President of the school said.
Army personnel carry out a rescue operation
According to the Thiruvananthapuram District Collector Dr K Vasuki, there are 47 shelter camps opened in the district.
Meanwhile, a senior official from Pathanamthitta Collectorate said that the District Collector PB Nooh is leading the rescue operations.
“Many are stuck on terraces of houses in Kozhencherry and Aranmula. However, we are trying our best to the rescue everyone,” the official said. “The National Disaster Response Force is leading the rescue operation.”
In a Facebook post, the Pathanamthitta District Collector posted that 8 boats have been brought from Kollam Neendakara for rescue operations. Seven are anchored in Kozhencherry and one in Ranni. Additionally, there four boats have been brought in from Neendakara in Thiruvalla. As the water level recedes in Ranni, it would adversely affect Upper Kuttanad in Thiruvalla.
According to an official from the Kerala State Disaster Management Authority, more units of the NDRF and Engineering Task Force (ETF) wing of the Indian Army have been airlifted from Pune in two AN-32 aircrafts and one IL-76 aircraft (one of the biggest aircrafts in the Indian Airforce), and are already deployed to Pathanamthitta and Alappuzha.
“More forces are being airlifted from Jodhpur, Bhopal and Pune,” the official added.
NDRF personnel rescue a woman
There are 18 NDRF teams in Kerala now, 12 more are expected to reach.
According to an update shared by KSDMA, between 8 August and 16 August, 75 people have died due to rain-related accidents.
“Between the eight days, the loss estimated is around Rs 11.82 crores and the crop loss is estimated at around 55.18 crore,” the government data sheet reveals.
Meanwhile, the state chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan tweeted that the water level in both Periyar and Chalakudy Rivers will rise.
Meanwhile, in a special weather warning, the Indian Meteorological Department reported that there would be heavy to heavy rains continuing in Kerala and other states until Sunday.