Nagapattinam: "It's now six days since the storm hit us, uprooting scores of trees and blowing off our roof-tops. We are surviving on donations of food and water from friends in neighbouring villages. Not one politician has visited us so far", fumed Karunanidhi of Vizhunthamavadi, a fishing village about 20 km from here.
His wife pointed to the many trees still lying uncut and said, "These uprooted trees are still not cut and cleared. We are not able to move around for fear of snakes. Our children are restrained like prisoners".
The villagers complain that since the promised and proclaimed government aid had not arrived yet, they are forced to travel long distances to buy essentials from own funds. "I rode on my scooter to Nagai for just charging my mobile phone as we don't have power in the village", said a young man seething with anger. He pointed to the uprooted electricity poles and the stretches of cables lying around.
According to the villagers, the ministers and government officials are limiting their Gaja-touring to places along the highways while skipping the interior villages. "Either they are worried they would be heckled and roughed up by angry villagers or they are unconcerned about our lot because they feel the TV cameras will not follow them to these interior places", said Karunanidhi.
He said the villagers refrained from cutting the fallen trees to clear the areas "because we do not want to remove the proof of damage when the government relief officials come here to assess our losses". He added that state health secretary Dr J Radhakrishnan dropped by and promised to rush help. "We don't know when that promise will be delivered. We hear he is a kind officer"....