Panniyarkutty, in Idukki, was home to 130 people until two weeks ago. But as rains and landslides wreaked havoc on Kerala last week, the village is now all but wiped out.
Located next to Muthirapuzha River, in the Konnathady and Rajakkad panchayats, the village was once home to a post office, library, milk society, church, a veterinary hospital, anganwadi and grocery shop. But all these signs of a flourishing village life are gone now.
“Nine landslides have all but wiped out the village. Now, there is no sign of the village at all. Before the landslides, Revenue Department officials evacuated the entire village, so we were able to save the lives of the villages,” says Mercy Jose, ward member from Konnathady panchayat.
“The locals were shifted to relief camps, but these landslides have wiped away all their hopes as well,” adds Mercy.
As villagers began trickling back, the sight of utter devastation met their eyes.
“We had three cents of land in Panniyarkutty, but now there’s nothing left. Before the landslides, we were moved to a relief camp, but we never thought we would come back to this,” says Beena Sathyan, from Panniyarkutty. “We thought we would come back home after the rains, but everything we have is gone. Now that the relief camp has shut down we have moved to a rented house. We have to start from scratch.”
Beena is right about that – Udumbanchola tehsildar CS Bhanukumar tells TNM that they will not encourage settlement in the area again.
“The Revenue Department has submitted a detailed report to the government. The state will provide Rs 4 lakh to the families who lost houses, and Rs 10 lakh to those who lost their lands. As of now, the families have been moved to rented accomodations or their relatives houses. Panchayats and social groups are providing assistance to the families,” he says.
It is reported that Idukki alone was witness to 278 landslides and 1,800 mudslides in this monsoon season. This came up in the flood review meeting conducted by the Revenue Department.
“There were 19 major landslides in the districts, which claimed 46 lives. A total of 56 people lost their lives in rain-related incidents in the district, and 7 people are missing. A total of 56 people were injured in the landslides,” says Idukki Collector, K Jeevan Babu.
Photos taken by Jijo Kurian
This article has been produced in partnership with Oxfam India. In the last 10 years, Oxfam India has delivered over 36 impactful humanitarian responses in India.Oxfam India is providing critical relief to the affected families and communities in Kerala: clean drinking water, sanitation, and shelter kits. Click here to help #RebuildKerala.