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The Gregorious School in Pathanamthitta is now home to many families, who were forced to flee their flooded homes.

We left with whatever we had on Kerala families turn school into temporary shelter
news Kerala Rains Thursday, August 16, 2018 - 19:27

Remani Amma, and her family along with Indira were the first to arrive at St Gregorious School in Kaipattur. Within minutes the school, which had not been marked as a relief camp, turned into one, as more people arrived. The vast school compound soon bustled with activity with vehicles driving in to drop those who had to be evacuated from nearby areas.

The heavy rains that have battered the district have left 300 houses flooded, while nearly 100 villages were marooned in Konni Taluk of Pathanamthitta district. Remani Amma and the others live on the shores of River Achankovil. St Gregorious School is the only relief camp in the area while the others are at Kozhenchery and near Pathanamthitta town.

"One house in our neighbourhood first flooded. Our house is in a higher land, so we were hopeful that our house won't be flooded. When it began flooding we all moved to the first floor. None of us slept, we kept on watching the water level. By morning we realised that we should move. Then came the rescue boat and we all were shifted by rescue operators," Remani Amma says.

"I worried the most about my mother" she says looking at 78-year-old Santhakumari, who seemed to be in a state of shock.

Indira and Santhakumari

"The water reached till here," Remani Amma says pointing to her neck. What little things they had brought with them were placed in one corner of the classroom, which turned into a makeshift bedroom, with benches being used as beds. 

One of the next to arrive was Rejitha, their neighbour, who came to the camp with her children and husband. "The more frightening thing for us is keeping our children safe," she exclaims, even as the family of four sit in wet clothes, with no change of dress.  

She goes on to say, "It had been pouring and the canals around flooded soon. By morning our houses were flooded. We women were alone at homes and we panicked. When the boat came, we left with whatever we had on. Everything at home should be damaged by now.”

Renju

Renju, another woman who made her way to the relief camp, says, "My worry is that I haven't taken medicine for my father who is old and sick. My father, small son and I were alone at home. We didn’t have any time to plan anything as the rains and winds were so strong. Our house flooded in no time" Renju says helplessly.

Pathanamthitta district is almost cut-off from other areas with key roads connecting Kozhenchery and Ranni have been blocked. The bridges connecting various places have been overflowing, preventing people and vehicular movement.  

"We have been alerting people to shift to the relief camps" says Rosamma Konni block panchayat vice president.

 

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