Hope rekindles for Kuttanad farmer who lost everything in flood

Alappuzha District Collector Haritha V Kumar consoles Gopikuttan at a relief camp in Kuttanad. Photo: Special arrangement

Alappuzha: Fate has been cruel to Gopikuttan (65), a farmer who lived in a small house in an isle surrounded by paddy fields in Kuttanad. For a long time, he stayed all alone in the house that carried the memories of his deceased wife.

A bund breach the other day caused by run-off water from the upper regions following incessant rains submerged his house, destroying it completely. Along with the house, nearly ten cents of land too was washed away.

The elderly man was shattered. His two daughters Shari and Sharika, who are both married, tried to console him, but in vain.

“Water rushed in at great force following the bund breach, that happened at 8.45 pm on Saturday. The house was destroyed, and the land was washed away. It’s now impossible for him to live there even if the water recedes. The panchayat will do all it can to help the farmer,” Kainakary Panchayat President M C Prasad said.

'House of memories'
Gopikuttan had never wanted to move out too far from the place where his “house of memories” stood.

“My wife died of kidney disease on December 4, 2021. I tried my best to save her life and did nine dialysis. However, she breathed her last when we rushed her for another dialysis after her condition worsened,” Gopikuttan told OnManorama.

With the threat of flood looming large, the couple even built an upper floor with all their savings and pawning gold. However, his wife died even as the construction works were progressing.

“The house is 15 years old and the upper portion was constructed by spending Rs 3.5 lakh only 13 months back. My wife always used to tell me that we won’t need to go to our daughters’ place and all. Now I’ve lost everything and don’t even have a place to sleep. The people here are kind-hearted and they ask me to come to their houses. But how long, that’s the question,’ Gopikuttan said as tears rolled down his eyes.

Hope surfaces
However, hope was rekindled when Alappuzha district collector Haritha V Nair visited the relief camp functioning at St Mary’s School on Monday. The officer personally consoled the farmer and assured him that she would do everything at the government level to allot him land and a new house at the earliest.

“The collector visited the site and assured me personally,” Gopikuttan added, as he hopes to get a small piece of land and house nearby to the site where the memories of his wife rest.

The bund breach occurred in Cherukayal paddy fields, the largest in the region, inundating six other paddy fields nearby and affecting at least 250 families.

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