Thiruvananthapuram: Initial estimates have put the losses due to the flood disaster in Kerala at more than 270 lives and Rs 20000 crore. The devastation has been widespread, but the silver lining is the glimpses of human heroism and Kerala’s unrelenting spirit of compassion and resilience in the face of a disaster.

Fishermen, who risked their lives venturing into the troubled waters, played a decisive role in rescue operations. Thousands of fishermen from far-away places reached the flood- stricken places at Ernakulam, Alappuzha and Pathanamthitta as soon as they received distress calls. Their selfless efforts were recognised and hailed by social and conventional media and by the State Government. The government had arranged trucks to take fishermen and boats to the flood-hit areas.

Fishermen from all coastal areas in the State took part in the rescue operations and they could reach even to remote areas with their vessels. “Fishermen from Vypeen in Ernakulam were involved in the task. Meanwhile there were reports about a surge in water level at Vypeen. But they did not come back to check and save their homes. Instead, they continued their efforts to save the lives of fellow human beings in far-away places,” said S Sarma, who is a Member of Legislative Assembly in a meeting held at Kochi.

Youngsters turned up in thousands at various centres for voluntary rescue and relief works. “There were more than 45,000 youngsters who immensely contributed to the relief works,” said P Sivasankar, secretary, IT. All flood-hit areas including Ernakulam and Thiruvananthapuram witnessed an incredible number of youngsters turning up everyday, to help ensure food, medicine and other facilities at various relief camps.

Not only money and materials, but land too was donated to the flood-hit. M P Wilson, a farmer from Kaniyampatta, Ambalavayal, Wayanad is one among those who was ready to give his land to reduce misery of fellow human beings. He handed over documents related to his land of 19.5 cents to the District Collector, in order to ensure fair distribution to the distressed.

The Cooperative Department has promised to construct 1500 houses for the flood-hit. The department under the leadership of Minister Kadakampally Surendran plans to start the task from September 1. A total of Rs 5 lakh will be spent on each house with an area of 600 sq ft. Cooperative Societies in each area will supervise the construction work and the beneficiaries will be selected in consultation with the respective district administration.

“People from all walks of life, irrespective of their political beliefs, joined together to face the difficult situation. This unity and compassion will help us overcome the disaster and rebuild the State. I want to thank everyone, including children who were keen on donating their savings to the Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund,” said Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in a press meet on Thursday.

By Manoj

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