Vishakhapatanam: Cyclone Gulab-driven floods have marooned families of 78 Erukulas, economically the most backward among Adivasis in Andhra Pradesh, residing in Ekalavya Colony of Pendurthi mandal in Visakhapatnam city.
They lost all their belongings, including groceries, clothes, school books, and cooking utensils, when storm water flooded their makeshift homes made of thatched roof. They are currently stranded with whatever they could save before rushing out of their homes.
Ramanayya, senior most among them, told Deccan Chronicle that flood waters entered their homes around 3.30 am on Monday, hours after Gulab crossed the coast. They hurried out to save their lives. “We were soaking in hard rain when a Samaritan saw and took all 130 of us to his apartment cellar and gave us shelter. He fed us the entire day and also served morning tea today when we left the apartment for our homes,” he said.
The tribal elder said none from the revenue or GVMC has come to find out about their fate, except the ward volunteer, who had made frantic calls to Pendurthi tehsildar. “The MRO came to us today morning while we were cleaning our homes. He made some enquiries and left, without offering us anything,’’ Ramanayya said.
The Erukula families from Nellore had shifted to Visakhapatnam in 1986 and settled in Ekalavya Colony, which was then an abandoned and deserted area. They eked out living hawking bamboo-made baskets, plastic drums, old sofas and chairs at various places in the city, villages and at times in agency areas.
“Election after election, political leaders have visited our colony and promised us pucca houses and other basic infrastructure facilities. But nothing has happened to us till today. There were no floods in our area earlier. They started after rich people blocked water drains by construction roads,” pointed out Suribabu, another resident of the colony.
Erukula children walk five kilometres to attend their school. They have lost all their books and uniforms given by the school. This correspondent saw some women crying due to loss of their livelihood....