#HealthOfKerala: ‘For a moment, I felt that Kerala had drowned underwater’

Bharat Salunke says that he and his neighbours were shell-shocked as they did not expect the scale of devastation and life and loss of property would be so great. He said that they feared that they would die by drowning in the flood as the rain defied their expectations and was rapidly rising around them

Salunke-eng

“I had no idea had rained of for how long it had rained for, but the rain was continuously pouring outside and it just wouldn’t stop,” said Bharat Salunke, a 47-year-old man who was rescued from the second floor of his building by the authorities.

He spoke how he felt that he and his neighbours were sitting ducks as the water around them began to rise. Salunke recounted his ordeal, saying, “The water began to rise slowly at first, it was outside our home in the morning. But soon enough the water began to rise rapidly and it engulfed everything in its path, we did not have any time to move anything inside our houses, the water had already reached 5 feet and we were in chest deep water. We rushed to the second floor, and with terror in our eyes we watched as the waters swallowed the entirety of the first floor.”

Salunke says he was truly terrified as never in his wildest dreams did he expected that the floodwaters would cross this threshold. With a tone of shock in his voice, Salunke added, “My neighbours and I rushed to the terrace to save ourselves. The intensity of the rain falling outside was so much that the water did not recede the entire night. It was relentless. We had nothing to do but wait, as we took refuge her till 4 am in the morning.  It seemed that time had stopped. It seemed like the entire state of Kerala would be washed away by the flood.”

Salunke and his neighbours were filled with hopelessness and despair, as they felt that everything was over. Salunke didn’t know what would happen next. He said, “After 25 hours, we received word that a rescue team was on its way to our building.”

What happened next was nothing short of a miracle, “The rescue team threw us a big rope and told us to securely fasten it to an object. We tied it firmly and began to descend into a boat which was waiting for us. We were truly taken aback by the horrific things we saw while lowering ourselves from the rope. My car and 2-3 bikes were completely submerged under the water and although the water had receded to some extent, we saw that the water was still above the gate of our building. The homes on the first floor were completely ruined as the water had completely immersed their belongings.”

We also spoke with two women who were residents of Chengannur, Alleppey district. Sunita Dhananjay, was grateful after being rescued, she said, “The water had reached up to 10 feet. We had been stranded on the second floor. The rescue team saved our life. We are indebted to them.”

While Usha Patil, who was stricken with fear, during her struggle, said, “We didn’t know what will happen to us. On the day, the water began to rise rapidly. We were just praying to God to keep us safe.”