Stuck in Kerala deluge, Sharjah teachers back with just passports

Stuck in Kerala deluge, Sharjah teachers back with just passports

Agency News

Sharjah, Sep 4(UNI) Two Sharjah-based Malayalee teachers, who were vacationing in Kerala when flood hit the state, said they were happy to be back alive in the UAE after the deluge in the sourthern state of India.

The teachers had to leave their homes with nothing except their passports and the necessary certificates. However, they and their families have safely returned to the UAE and begun work.

Reshmi Pillai, a senior school social studies teacher from Our Own English High School, Sharjah; and Maya Kartha, an English teacher were speaking to Khaleej Times about the hardship they went through in flood-torn Kerala.

Reshmi and Maya are both residents of Aluva, a municipality and a northern suburb of the city of Kochi.

Recounting her experiences, Resmi said, "My house is very near to the river Periyar. Things began to change on the afternoon on August 15. I was at home with my husband Anil Pillai, his mother (80), my 76-year-old mother and our two dogs.

"I've been teaching disaster management to my students for many years, and that helped me prepare myself. I set the alarm for 2am on August 16 and saw that the water had reached near our car. By 4am it had reached our doorstep and that's when I realised that things are going to get worse. My husband recently had knee surgery, so his movements were restricted. I woke up everyone at 4am and force shifted them to the top floor."

She collected necessary documents like passports, bank receipts, and non-perishable food items like bread, drinking water, and cheese, and shifted to the top floor of her house. "By August 16 afternoon, our ground floor was inundated. The Aluva Fire Department rescued everyone in our house immediately after, and moved us to my brother's apartment building a few hours away."

Her brother lived on the 10th floor. Everyone had to climb a flight of stairs to get to her brother's apartment. "It took several hours. However, we made it. My mother and mother-in-law were shivering due to the cold water. I helped them reach there," she added.

The family survived in the building for eight days without power supply, and when water supply was starting to dwindle, evacuation teams forced them to leave the building as well. "We were rationing food in the house. We ate less and had rationed water supply as well," she added.

The family had to climb down the flight of stairs and find a boat to get out of the deluge. "People refused to take us because we had dogs. Finally, we got on to rubber boats and attached a wooden plank to the boat and dragged the dogs to safety," said Resmi. She later found a driver who transported her family to Cherthala in Aleppy district.

Maya Kartha and her family suffered a similar fate. The English teacher had to evacuate her house with nothing except a passport on August 15. The Aluva resident, said, "We shifted to a hotel near Nedumbaserry. An hour after we checked-in, the water levels began rising in the hotel as well. The power and water supply in the hotel shut down, and we lived there without electricity for four days." (UNI)