Travelling far from the city of Agartala, the Chairman of Caritas India made his visit to Kerala to access the situation and meet the flood victims after the devastating flood and landslide.
Bishop Lumen Monteiro travelled four days from August 28-31, 2018 to meet the affected families of Mananthawady, Calicut, Vijayapuram, Pathanamthitta, Tiruvalla and Kuttanad areas.
At the Caritas relief coordination centre, he interacted with Caritas India staff to understand the ground situation. He also met the Director, Fr.Paul Kottala and Asst. Director of Manathawady SSS and ascertained the situation and intervention.
After inaugurating the relief distribution at Payampally village, Bishop visited Ambedkar Colony to meet SC/ ST people who were devastated by the floods. The whole paddy fields were washed out causing extensive damage to the livelihood of the people. He interacted with the people to understand the sequences of events that led to the deluge. He further visited Koodalkkadadvu and also the Biowin Argo Research Centre of the Mananthawady diocese. The Research centre is an organic food processing Centre for the value addition of agri products which benefits the farmers in terms of better prices for the produce and regular market for the farmers. At the Pancharakolly village, he witnessed the damaged infrastructure and property caused by heavy landslides.
The Chairman met Bishop Varghese Chamakkalayil of Calicut, Fr. Alfred. V.C, the Diocesan Director, and the other Diocesan Team to access the damage and challenges in rehabilitating the affected people.
During his visit to Vijayapuram, he met Bishop Sebastian Thekkethecherry and then the affected families of veloor village where he joined the team to distribute relief kits to the affected people. Bishop also made the house visit to a number of houses to ascertain the losses. People were very happy that the Chairman of Caritas India visited their houses and saw their situations and prayed for them.
Pathanamthitta, one of the worst affected diocese witnessed the rise in water level up to 24 feet from the ground level. He also met the V.G Mon. Joseph Kurumbileth and Mon John Thundiyath, Fr.Binoy Diocesan Director, and diocesan Team. He reached the Erikkad colony under Kurichimuttom Village which was inhabited by very poor people and distributed relief kits to the beneficiaries. It was informed that as the water level started rising in the morning, people moved to safer places leaving their houses which averted further life loss. The land slide in the area had severely damaged houses and assets.
His visit to Tirumoolapuram, Kallissery, Pandanadu and Vanavathukkara villages revealed that the people were trapped in their houses for almost 3-4 days. It was informed that sick and elderly people suffered a lot at these villages. Bishop also visited Bodhana Office and discussed about their relief efforts.
Accompanied by the VG Mon Joseph Mundakathil and Director Joseph Kalarickal, Chairman visited the Kuttanad areas of Thayamkari, Champakulam, Chennamkari, Kainakari where people suffered the huge loss of their property in terms of structure and facilities. Some houses are still under water as the stagnant water has no outlet to the nearby river. Most important challenge faced by the people are of drinking water, Non-food items and housing.
In Alleppey, Bishop Stephen Athipozhiyil, Diocesan Director Fr Xavier and Diocesan Team apprised him Chairman about their support and rescue operations. They informed that the fishermen have provided much needed support and without them, the death toll would have increased to thousands.
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