No data on number of deaths, camps, victims; Chengannur in distress

S D Venukumar Chengannur

There has been no accurate estimate of death toll, number of relief camps and the number of people in camps in Chengannur. The details about the rescue operations are also unavailable. This inaccuracy and absence of data is not anyone’s inefficiency but the degree of havoc is severe here.

After five days of heavy rains, the rain has receded slightly. Water level in Pamba river has decreased by three feet. Meanwhile, water level in Achankovil river rose which again has affected Chengannur adversely. Aala, Pennukkara, Venmani and Cheriyanad were waterlogged. According to sources, many are in emergency situation and many had died. However, authorities couldn’t confirm these numbers.

Approximately, 5000 people are yet to be rescued from various places in Chengannur. The places like Idanad, Pandanad, Iramallikkara, Vanavathukkara, Mangalam, Punthala, eastern side of Mannar and Chennithala require emergency assistance. People in these localities are staying in terrace for four days. They have not been rescued yet, and are deprived of water and food.

Police said, 1500-ton food packets were distributed in helicopters. However, people alleged that the food packets didn’t reach Idanad and Mannar areas. There is scarcity for food and drinking water. Food stock in the provisional shops were sold out. New stocks are not arriving as the roads are blocked.

It is alleged that rescue operations lost its coordination from the beginning.

On Saturday, apart from army, NDRF, ITBP and over 150 fishermen reached the area for rescue operations.

However, it is reported that some people hesitated to leave their homes and get into helicopters as the water level was receding. The people here demanded food instead of being carried away to safer places. If water level recedes like on Saturday, it would take at least two weeks to normalize the situations. Then, the priority would be medicine and health care treatments.

District police superintendent S Surendran said, 1700 people were rescued on Saturday. 75 percent of people in danger were rescued. Food was distributed to 95 percent of people by helicopters.

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