The rescue teams in Kerala may have been applauded for reaching the most inaccessible places, but only a few know about the unsung heroes who have become NDRF’s backbone in relief operations.
Among these local secret superstars are a group of Kalady men, who tied together 40 drums and turned it into a makeshift boat.
When the situation in flood-ravaged Kalady was alarming with people stranded on the second floor and terraces of their houses without any food and water, these men rose up as heroes for hundreds of children, pregnant ladies and elderly awaiting help.
Despite having no knowledge or expertise in rowing, these people tied up 40 drums to create a temporary boat and shifted people to safer zones at the time when the floodwaters were raging in the area, hindering rescue operations.
Davis, who was among those who helped the people, said, “There were so many desperate calls coming to us from the other side. We had to help them somehow. We took a huge risk but by god's grace everyone is safe. No life is lost in our area."
There were no life guards, no safety precautions, a country boat or any other kind of help from outside at the time of the rescue operation.
“It was a tough task as the water levels were dangerously high and we did not know the routes. At times the boats used to hit on top of the gates. The elderly people were kept on chairs on top of this make shift boat."
He added that they had to try something to save these people other than sitting idle.
Only two people were skilled in rowing. Sijo, who is also one of the rescuers, said," We did not have safety precautions but we had no other option. The only aim in front of us was to save these lives. "
Another resident, who is a driver by profession, said he did not know anything about rowing or water. "Seeing the condition we just decided to do it. Many times are were caught in the wave and strong wind, but we somehow managed to come back."
All the people were rescued safely and cannot thank these men enough. “We are alive because of these people, we cannot be more grateful,” said Lissy Pappachan, who is one among the rescued.
At times of crisis like this, it's unsung heroes like these men, whose selfless services instills hope and strength to fight adversities.