Abu Dhabi: A Keralite public relations officer working in Dubai said that a fellow expat who went on vacation back home to Kerala had to sadly watch his home being submerged by the flood waters.
“Like him, at least 26 people have lost their houses entirely and 587 houses have been partially damaged in my district [Wayanad] alone, which has witnessed the worst natural calamity in 60 years,” Majeed Maniyodan, 48, told Gulf News on Saturday. He said the largest relief camp for flood-affected people in the state has been opened in his district, offering shelter to hundreds.
“They get all support from the government and social organisations at the camp. But when they go back after the flood subsides, it will be a major challenge to reconstruct homes and restart lives,” Maniyodan said.
Kannan S. Das, 35, a quality officer in Abu Dhabi, said the gravity of the calamity went beyond deaths and injuries.
“I heard about people whose houses have been destroyed, in my wife’s hometown near Iritti, Kannur district. Some of them saw their entire lands washed away in landslides. They have lost everything they made over the years,” Das said.
Arunjith Lal, 38, an engineer in Abu Dhabi who returned from Kerala two days ago, said although his hometown Thiruvananthapuram is safe, the news about the opening of all dams in the state was scary.
“My heart goes out to those who lost their loved ones and properties,” Lal said. “There has never been such widespread destruction in Kerala,” he added.
Rashid Edathod, 35, a public relations officer in Abu Dhabi, said he and his family have been glued to news from Kerala on television.
“Such mass destruction has been unheard of in Kerala. It is shocking and saddening,” he said.
News about the state chief minister and the opposition leader visiting the affected areas together and timely support offered by the central government and neighbouring state governments has offered some relief, Edathod said.
“This gives hope that leaders can rise above political divides. This will give confidence to the people during this bad time, that they can face calamities together,” he said.
Meanwhile, Dr. B.R. Shetty, chairman of UAE Exchange and Unimoni, has contributed Rs20 million (Dh1 million) to the Kerala Chief Minister’s Disaster Relief Fund. Hundreds of staff from Unimoni’s wide network across Kerala has come forward to aid in rescue and rehabilitation operations in the state, Dr Shetty said, offering food and medicines to rehabilitation centres.