Kerala: Over 300 people died in Kerala’s devastating floods. Many more were separated from their families. But there were some who had providential escape and the harrowing experience they underwent would remain with them forever. Here are the stories of three people who even today find it hard to believe that they are alive.
As floodwater came gushing in, family remained trapped for 4 days
Jojo Phillip, resident of Chengannur, and his family woke up on the morning August 16 to discover floodwater in their house. Before they could react, the force of the flood water broke the entrance door and came gushing in. Phillip’s mother-in-law was also with them after a serious surgery which made things harder for the family.
Jojo said they rushed to the upper floor of house with 4 kg rice, stove and matches. The drinking they had water finished in just two days and only three matchsticks were left. They dipped a cloth in coconut oil and kept it burning for four days, cooked food on it and spent nights on its light. Even a helicopter could not rescue them. Later, Jojo and his family were rescued with the help of a boat.
House was reduced to a rubble after pet dog’s bark woke them up
P Mohanan lives with his family in Kanjhikujhi village of Idukki. Today, they are alive because of their pet dog Rocky. That day it was about 3 in the morning, when suddenly Rocky started barking loudly. Mohanan woke up but did not get out of bed. But he soon realised Rocky’s barking was abnormal and that his behaviour was unusual. He rushed out along with his family. As soon as they reached near the dog’s shelter, his house was reduced to rubble under a massive landslide. For Mohanan, Rocky is a rock star. He says the hair-raising experience would live with him all his life.
He can’t see but courage kept him alive
There was heavy rainfall in Kerala on the intervening night of August 15 and 16. Visually impaired 82-year-old Gopalkrishna and his wife Vijayaamma who can’t see out of one eye were fast asleep in their home. It was only when the icy cold water touched their bodies that the elderly couple woke up and realised that their beds were already submerged in floodwater.
“I didn’t know what to do. I caught my wife’s hand and we walked in one direction. We were very frightened as we didn’t know whether we were walking in the right direction or not,” said Gopalkrishna.
Now the couple is in a refugee camp. Gopalkrishna survives on disability pension, and had built the house 13 years back. Now the couple is left with nothing.
(Story by: JC Shibu)