The collapsed portion of the compound wall in the house of Dubai-based Indian expat Rani Mariamma at Seethathode, Kerala. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Several Indian expats in the UAE have expressed fear and anxiety about the safety of their families back home as heavy rains lash the south Indian state of Kerala.

Many Keralite expats who were on vacation and families of others settled there were hit by the floods that battered the state in 2018 and 2019. Now, it is almost as if history is repeating itself.

As rains continue in the state with flooding and landslides reported in several districts over the weekend, Malayali expats in the UAE were worried about the impact of nature’s fury back home.

Second time

Dubai resident Sajesh. P, who is involved in a catering service, said his house has been flooded once again and his parents were affected due to the floods in Pathanamthitta district.

“I am very much worried for my parents. This is the second time they are getting affected by the floods,” he told Gulf News.

A 2018 photo of the flooded street in which the house (painted in green) of Sajesh P is located. The upper floor, which was not completed then, is where his parents are now staying after the ground floor and the basement where they used to live got flooded again. Image Credit: Supplied

Sajesh’s house in Perunad area, which is on the banks of Pamba River and Kakkad River in Ranni, has three floors, with one below the ground level where his parents have been staying. “The first floor is a shop that we have rented out. In 2018, both the house and the shop were flooded and my parents were rescued from the floods. They had to live in a relief camp in a school for nearly two months.”

He said he later built one more floor for the house to shift his parents. “I had told them to move upstairs but they didn’t want to as they are old and can’t keep climbing the stairs. Yesterday, the lower floors were flooded again and they shifted to the uppermost floor. I got the help of some workers to move all the furniture and home appliances upstairs. Everything had got destroyed the last time,” he said.

Properties damaged

Alex Sebastian, a businessman who hails from Kanjirappally in Kottayam district, said his hometown has got flooded. “We have always felt safe and secure thinking that our hilly area will never get flooded. This is the first time that my place is getting flooded. Everyone is worried because there are elders in almost all households and nobody has witnessed such a flooding in our locality. I am worried for my mother who is 72.”

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Incessant rains have wreaked havoc in many parts of Kerala. Image Credit: ANI

Though his house has been spared so far, Sebastian said his 40-acre farm in Virikkathod area has been inundated. “I haven’t received the whole picture of the damages yet. But I have been informed that only four of five of the 400 papaya trees I had planted some six months ago have been left behind. Everything else got uprooted and washed away.”

He said it was heartbreaking to see the visuals of 13 houses just across the river near his farm getting washed away in the flood water. “I have grown up seeing those houses across the river. They have vanished now. Thankfully people are safe as they were shifted from there. It is also sad to hear that so many people including friends from my hometown have been hit by the floods.”

Mother's safety

Rani Mariamma, a school bus attendant, said she is extremely concerned about the safety of her mother who lives all alone in Seethathode. “My house is not flooded. But my mother is alone and a portion of the compound wall in our plot has collapsed. There is flooding in many nearby areas. My kids are in their father’s place. They cannot go to my mother as all the roads are flooded,” she said.

The main road towards the house of Sandeep Sukumaran lies inundated on Sunday morning. Image Credit: Supplied

Sandeep Sukumaran, who runs an automobile shop, said fear gripped his family when they recollected the 2018 floods in his hometown in Aranmula. “My house has two floors and both the floors were flooded back then. We were very much worried yesterday as many places in our area started getting flooded since yesterday afternoon.”

He said getting connected to his parents was difficult. “I am getting updates from my friends. They are monitoring the area and sending photos of streets getting flooded. We have decided to shift our parents to a safer place if the water gets into the internal road near our house. So far, the water has reached the main road which is a little away.”