With the sea entering their homes, people living along Kerala's coast want walls built - but is that the solution?

Why people living along the Kerala coast want sea wallsPTI
Delve Coastal Environment Friday, August 31, 2018 - 19:19

“We don’t want to go anywhere. Where will we go? This is where we were born and brought up.  We can’t even imagine living somewhere else.”

This is the collective thought of the residents in Eriyad panchayat near Kodungallur in Thrissur district, Kerala. These people have been living near the sea, making it their life and livelihood, for generations. But now, their livelihood is under threat due to the lack of a sea wall and increasing coastal erosion in the region.

The sea wall that exists in this region is one feet high. The residents claim that this wall was built 35 years ago, and was six feet high back then. Their anger is not directed at the sea, but is at the authorities who have failed to maintain the sea wall.

Cyclone Ockhi, which hit the Kerala coast in December 2017, made things worse. Residents claim that since the cyclone, the sea has become rougher and enters their homes very often.

46-year-old Chandrika, who has lived there since she can remember, says that the three houses behind hers have been washed away by the sea and that she fears for her house.

“We were born and brought up here. At night when we are sleeping, the sea enters our homes. We wouldn’t even know. Others would come and alert us, and that’s when we realise that the water has reached till our beds! We all then go to school (relief camp). If nobody calls us, we would be lying inside the house when it gets flooded,” she says.

Their problems started 10 years ago and got worse after Ockhi. Repeated attempts to bring the issue to the attention of the authorities did not bear fruits. Frustrated by the neglect of the authorities, the residents in the area have formed a committee to press for their demands to be met.

Of the Kerala coastline that extends for 588 kms, 310 kms of the coast has been protected in some way or the other like sea walls or groynes.

However, experts disagree with the residents’ views and say that building a sea wall or a groyne is only a short-term solution. They believe that permanent solution will be to rehabilitate the fishermen community.

 
With the sea entering their homes, people living along Kerala's coast want walls built - but is that the solution?

With the sea entering their homes, people living along Kerala's coast want walls built - but is that the solution?

Posted by TheNewsMinute on Tuesday, 28 August 2018

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