After rain havoc, Kerala sees a flood of goodwill

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala both offered to contribute a month’s salary each to the relief effort

Thiruvananthapuram: After the devastation caused due to heavy rains in Kerala, a different sort of flood is gracing the state — large-hearted contributions from people of all sections, as well as mini armies of volunteers who are helping people to pick up the pieces and begin their lives all over again.

Following announcements of donations as large as Rs50 million by Lulu Group’s M.A. Yusuffali and Rs5 million by Azad Moopan of the Aster group, big and small contributions have been steadily flowing into the flood relief operation in the state.

Mumbai-based Kerala-born businessman M.P. Ramachandran of the Jyothi Laboratories group has pledged a contribution of Rs10 million.

Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala both offered to contribute a month’s salary each to the relief effort.

On Monday, many others including a number of film stars also offered their contributions. Leading Malayalam actor Mohanlal pledged Rs2.5 million to the relief efforts, another leading star Mammootty offered Rs1.5 million and his son and actor Dulquer contributed Rs1 million.

Popular Tamil actors Surya and Karthi promised Rs2.5 million, and Tamil television channel Vijay TV contributed a similar amount. Actor-turned-politician Kamal Hassan, who heads Makkal Neethi Meyyam, also contributed Rs2.5 million.

Minister A.C. Moideen and Bharatiya Janata Party MLA, O. Rajagopal promised to contribute a month’s salary each. Others who promised to contribute a month’s salary included minister K.K. Shailaja and parliamentarian, M.P. Veeendrakumar.

Though the situation has been brought under control, major dams in the state are continuing to release water, including the Cheruthoni dam in Idukki, where all the five gates have been raised.

In Pathanamthitta district, following heavy rains in the catchment area of the Sabarigiri project, the gates of the Pamba and Anathodu dams were reopened on Monday. The development has affected pilgrims to Sabarimala.

It was also decided to raise the gates of the Malampuzha, Banasurasagar and Peppara dams as more showers were received in their catchment areas.

Kerala is still struggling to emerge out of the battering caused by incessant rains and consequent flooding, but tales of grit and character are surfacing as the waters recede.

When the flood waters engulfed a family that made a living on a piece of land abutting the Cheruthoni river in Idukki, the family members had to made a hasty escape, leaving 17 of their pets including dogs and fowls, marooned.

Coming to hear of the situation, district authorities led by collector K. Jeevan Babu initiated efforts to evacuate all of them from where they were trapped.

The National Disaster Relief Force members swung into action, attempting to rescue all the animals, including six dogs and two cats. When they found the evacuation difficult, food was provided for the animals on the piece of land where they were marooned by the waters.

The animals were owned by the family of K. Mohanan and Ambily, who were also rearing cattle. When the waters rose quickly, the family had to leave in a hurry, taking only the cattle with them.

Further south, a 63-year-old who slipped and fell into the Kallada river managed to hang on to a tree branch all night, before being saved on Sunday morning.

Kulakkudi Joseph fell into the river on Saturday night, and he kept shouting for help but in the roaring noise of the river and the darkness, no help was forthcoming. As waters rose, he clung to a tree branch that hung from the river bank. After a while the branch broke into two in the gushing waters but Joseph continued to clutch on to one piece for dear life.

On Sunday morning he got lucky when a woman spotted him in the river. A rescue team soon rushed to save him from the river. He was briefly admitted to a hospital in Punalur, from where he was discharged later.

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