Private bus driver Jebi, from Mundakayam town here, was stuck in traffic when he received news that his house — the fruit of 27 years of hard work — had been swept away by the raging waters of Manimala river, visuals of which are now viral on social media.
The visuals show the double storey house slowly tilting back as the mud underneath it was gradually washed away by the raging muddy water of Manimalayar until it crashed into the river which instantly swept it away leaving hardly any trace, except a wide gap where the residence of the family of four once stood.
Manimala river originates from the Muthuvara Hills on the Western Ghats in Idukki district of Kerala. Besides losing every household item and other knick-knacks, which would have emotional value, that they had accumulated over the years, the family also lost all important documents, like their ration and Aadhaar cards, as well as more than Rs 2 lakh in cash which was kept at home for the purpose of marriage of their younger daughter.
However, according to Jebi, the cash was stolen by someone from his wife’s purse after she collapsed from the shock of seeing their home being swept away in front of her eyes. They have been left with nothing except the clothes on their backs, the couple — Jebi and Pushpa — told news channels who reached the spot after the video of the house collapsing into the river went viral.
The video was shot by one of their neighbours when he saw the house slowly losing its grip on the roadside and tilting back into the river, before finally crashing into it. Now the couple and their younger daughter are living with a relative. Their elder daughter is married.
”We will have to start from scratch now. We won’t be able to do that without government help. We are thankful we are alive,” they said. Pushpa, however, still cannot come to terms with the loss of their house which she believed was safe and secure.
”We thought it was safe. So did our neighbours and therefore, 25-30 people were gathered in our house when it was raining heavily. Then we heard some sound and quickly moved out and locked all the doors. But within half an hour of that, the house fell into the river and was swept away along with all that we had,” she said. The Kottayam district administration, in an official statement, said that 62 houses were completely destroyed and 161 houses were partially destroyed in the heavy rains that lashed the state. It further said that damage assessment was going on, but primary findings indicated that most of the destruction happened in Kanjirapally taluk of the district where 62 houses were completely destroyed and 143 houses were partially destroyed. In Meenachil taluk, 16 houses were partially destroyed and in Changanassery taluk 2 houses were partially destroyed, it said.