Dubai: A year after the devastating deluge in Kerala, flood fury has hit several Kerala expats in UAE again as incessant rains continued to batter several districts in the south Indian state on Friday.
Apart from travel disruptions due to the closure of Kochi airport, many expats’ families and those on vacation back home have been affected. Some expats are already actively participating in rescue and relief operations in flood-hit areas.
Thoufeekh K.P., an admin manager in a fire and safety company in Dubai, said his family members had to move to relatives’ houses in safer places as his area was flooded and isolated.
“Water has reached half way on the ground floor of my father’s house. My grandmother, parents and sister had to vacate and go to our relatives’ houses,” he told Gulf News on Friday.
Thoufeekh hails from Meppadam in Nilambur, which faced massive destructions after landslides and heavy downpours. “We were not affected last time. This year the situation has become really bad. Around 100 people have gone missing after some 30 houses caved in a landslide in Kavalappara. The river is overflowing and several areas are flooded,” Thoufeekh said.
Naseeb C.T. who runs a garment factory in Ajman, said his parents, sister and her four-year-old daughter vacated the house at 4am on Thursday after their house in Minervappadi in Nilambur was flooded.
“The ground floor of our house is completely submerged. The water level has reached more than half of the first floor now. Most of our furniture and home appliances are damaged.”
He said his family had to shift to houses of three neighbours as each of them got flooded one after another. “Now they are all in the third house. There is no way to go out. All their phones are dead as there is no electricity supply. It is really a big concern as we cannot get updates.”
Ryju Perumanna, who is on vacation in Kottooli in Kozhikode district, said over WhatsApp that he ventured out in knee-deep water for rescue and relief works.
“I am a member of the Change a Life, Save a Life group of expats who actively coordinated flood relief efforts from Dubai last year. This time, being here, I am out on the streets to help people stuck in flooded houses,” said Ryju who works with an auto garage in Dubai.
He messaged photos and videos that showed flooded areas and his relief efforts over there.
Expats here are also actively coordinating flood relief operations via social media.
Flood fear grips Malayalis
Meanwhile, fear gripped many Malayali expats who were victims of last years’ deluge. Many also expressed concerns about their family members getting stuck during their road travels.
“From news reports, I can see that it is becoming worse than last year in many places and memories of those days of struggle are again haunting me. I just got back to Dubai last week,” said Dean Jose, operations manager of a brand management company in Dubai whose house and relatives’ houses and other properties in Ernakulam district were badly damaged last year.
“People have already been shifted to relief camps from my area. I am really worried about things getting worse,” he said.
Dubai resident, Praseetha Rajesh, said she kept praying for the safe journey of her parents, who were travelling with her daughter Anushka, 10, who is on vacation there, from Wayanad to Kannur.
“Many areas in Wayanad are badly affected. There was news about waterlogging on their route and the mountain pass that they had to cross is always at risk of landslides. Though their car got stuck for a while after water entered the engine, they managed to continue the journey and reached home safely after some hours’ delay.”
P.P. Saseendran, a senior Malayalam journalist in Dubai, said his son’s journey to his house in Kannur from Mysore in Karnataka, which usually takes less than five hours, took about 23 hours, due to the downpour and bad traffic conditions.