THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: As cyclone Fani gains strength, the coastal belt in the district has faced heavy sea erosion. As many as 10 houses have been totally destroyed in the region displacing around 19 families in the past two days. The Kerala State Disaster Management Authority (KSDMA) has advised fisherman in the state not to venture out into the sea until further notice. The district administration has opened two relief camps at Valiyathura BUDS UP School and Valiyathura UP School. Around 69 people, including children, are currently staying at these camps.
"Around 400 houses were destroyed in sea fury in the past two years and the government was able to provide homes for around 192 families in Muttathara village. The authorities of the irrigation department who are supposed to protect our shorelines are turning a blind eye. They visit us only when sea erosion happens. In 2016, the government sanctioned around Rs 74 lakh for maintaining 730 metres of sea wall from Valiyathura to Cheriyathura. But the project never took off," said Tony Oliver, a resident of Valiyathura.
The Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) has predicted swell waves of 1.7 to 2.4-metre height along the Kerala coast on Friday. It is learnt that around 600 houses at Cheriyathura, Valiyathura, Kuzhivilakam, Kochuthoppu, Valyathoppu and Shangumugham are under threat.
Though district collector K. Vasuki claims that all arrangements are in place, the people in the camps say that there is no power, water or other facilities. The residents of Valiyathura on Thursday took out a march and staged a dharna in front of the public office to protest against the authorities'failure to protect the coastal belt.
Mr V.S. Sivakumar MLA urged the state government take immediate steps to construct a seawall to protect the shoreline. He gave a letter to the major irrigation department to provide immediate relief to the people....