The sons of sea, local heroes who battled the floods: Matsya Pravarthaka Sangham
None had a clue what was happening, the water gushed into the homes, the water level began rising within minutes, people screamed, then the only option was to rush out and wade through water which was out to swallow anything and everything it saw. The God’s Own Country faced the wrath of its rivers when majority of the dams got opened up. The thickly populated towns in 11 districts plunged into a crisis which has been seen only in Hollywood horror movies. The aged, ailing, children, women all found it difficult to convince themselves that their safety zones have been breached, the four walls which protected them till then, now looked as a death cell.
The crisis was unprecedented, unheard in the past for the State apparatus to handle, the courageous youths came out first to help out, they were rendering a helping hand to all the needy. The helpline numbers got chocked, the mobile towers crashed, the electricity went off and in many areas the electric lines acted as supportive strings for the boats to keep their balance, imagine the height where the water reached. We will find hundreds of local boys who turned heroes by performing heroic deeds, where they didn’t even think of the threats to their own lives while saving the lives of others.
The fishermen, who faces the challenge thrown up by the mighty Sea came out to rescue the hapless people. The Bharateeya Matsya Pravarthaka Sangham workers dared to challenge the strong currents and saved thousands of lives, special mention needs to given to those from Kappad Sri Bhagavathi, Kaanankadavu, Matsaya Gramas and Bhagyamala Group in Kollam and Thikkodi. The Bharateeya Matsya Pravarthaka Sangham and allied organisations made supreme efforts of their own, the fisher folk who lacked resources amassed all they could to save the lives in the distant cities. The 45 stiches on the body of Shri Ratna Kumar, now in Amrita Hospital Kochi is a telling tale of how each one of them ignored their own safety and ensured the stranded people got rescued. Shri. Ratna Kumar was injured when a Arcenut tree fell down and pierced his abdomen during the rescue efforts, he did not back off, though heavily bleeding and ensured the victims were evacuated safely.
The fishermen from Kozhikode, Thrissur, Ernakulam, Alappuzha, Kollam districts made all out efforts to save the people and indeed saved thousands, otherwise, the death toll would have mounted to an un imaginable figure. The strong currents were a deterrent factor but the strong will to save the affected made them heroes, the fisher folk have always been neglected and they have a story of struggle to tell. But, in the hour of crisis, they didn’t wait for orders or support, their boats pierced the strong currents, at times currents destroyed them, but stil,l they arranged substitute boats and went on with their efforts to save. They had only a single mission, the mission was to save maximum number of people, there were no guidance, technical support, when the modern technologies drowned in the floods, these men fought a battle which would be recorded in golden letters, the winds would certainly sing their heroic deeds, the neglect and apathy even in post rescue phase by the State administration, in recognizing their heroic deed won’t let them down, as they have already found a place in thousands of hearts.
Sewa Bharati rescues 75,600 flood-hit people
The Opponents of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh have no qualms to admit in open that when it comes to selfless service, the Sewa Bharati has no match, the history repeats herein Kerala, when writing this article a whopping two lac Sewa Bharati volunteers are engaged in a mass cleaning drive in all the flood devastated areas of Kerala. Every where, in the devastated areas, one would find the Sewa Bharati volunteers working silently, either engaged in sanitation or in distributing the food packets or essentials. The well-oiled silent machinery of Sewa Bharati has a feather in its cap, when it rescued 75,600 people in the flood hit areas of Kerala.
The mammoth rescue efforts saw two of its volunteers sacrificing their lives, when the State apparatus was taken aback by the unexpected tragedy, the Sewa Bharati swung in to action reaching out to the last affected person. The peculiar political situation prevailing in the state resulted in concerted efforts to shadow the service done by the Sewa Bharati but till what time the clouds can cover up the sun, the electronic media tried to censor the khakhi clad volunteers but soon the selfless service rendered by the thousands soon passed on from eyes to eyes and mouth to mouth. Unlike many, the Sewa Bharati volunteers always shied away from the glare of media but their service left a telling mark everywhere. It’s not eulogy, rather it’s a fact, testified by those who felt the warmth of their guard, the rescue operation was itself a mammoth task which had to be undertaken without the help of the communication devices, i.e. the mobile phones, this might have been the biggest handicap the volunteers of any organization in rescue front faced. The lack of electricity and defunct mobile towers took the State of Kerala to a groping dark, where, death was waiting to pounce on hapless victims.
The Sewa Bharati, opened up about 300 Relief Camps and scores of Doctors from across the nation went into the interior areas which were direly in need of medical attention. The biggest challenge was to stop the outbreak of epidemics, the small teams, which went around, door to door in the affected areas ensured proper medical care, the victims are yet to come out of the psychological trauma, they lost everything in a span of three days, the efforts they had put in for several decades were carried away by the floods. The Doctors also made tireless efforts to boost the morale of the victims, though the same was not their immediate task, the efforts, the various teams made from within and outside the state is highly appreciable and unparalleled.
The whole crisis saw hundreds of boats, ambulances and vehicles along with several thousands of Sewa Bharati volunteers relentlessly working round the clock to help the victims in all affected districts of the state. Sewa Bharati made a mammoth cleaning drive all across the State, the task was a big challenge, as huge amount of mud got deposited in the affected houses, the stench, the dead animals & birds, ensuring proper sanitation in the midst of all these was an uphill task, but lacs of Sewa Bharati volunteers ensured the task is accomplished in record time, and the process is still on. Through 300 collection centres in affected districts, relief materials were distributed to more than 1,05,000 families, more are being reached out and the present figure would definitely swell by the time article is published. Several thousands of houses, worship places of all religions, hundreds of hospitals, schools and other institutions were also cleaned up by the Sewa Bharati. A whopping 1 lakh twenty thousand workers were involved in this mass silent exercise which soothed several lakhs of victims. The Sewa Bharati is now organizing medical camps all across the state and creating awareness among the people about proper sanitation, safe drinking water and the need to seek immediate medical help than self treatment. The Seva Bharti has its own tale of sorrow which it has kept to itself, two of its volunteers, Vishal (23) of Thiruvalla and Midhun (24) of Elamkunnapuzha in Ernakulam District sacrificed their precious lives during rescue operations. The mammoth rescue and relief operations undertaken by the Sewa Bharati along with other organizations has resulted in showering of praises from all corners, the work is now focusing on rehabilitation, the Sewa Bharati along with Seema Jagran Manch have created a new history of selfless service though silently.