Published: 22nd August 2018
From jumping walls to being forced to leave her pet behind, this is how this young lecturer survived the floods
For Jovita James and her family, the recent Kerala Floods were the worst calamity they'd ever witnessed
Here's how things unfolded, in the survivor's words
August 14 2018
My mom was scared since we had heard that our area might get hit by the floods. On August 14, we got to know that the nearby areas were getting flooded, especially Aluva. I was almost sure that water levels are going to rise here as well. But, my father was adamant that even if it rises, things will get better in a couple of hours and in a worst-case scenario, we could all go to the first floor.
August 15 2018
My mom's sister and her husband stay in an apartment near Aluva. When they got up in the morning on August 15, their neighbours had already left their homes in a boat. Nobody told them how serious the situation was. They were stuck on the fifth floor. They tried to call for a rescue boat but in vain. They were stranded on the fifth floor without electricity or drinking water. None of us slept that night. Mom's brothers met the MLA to ask for help, but he couldn't help them either.
The house's kitchen after the floods
August 16 2018
Our courtyard got flooded in the morning. All our neighbours had moved out. But my father was adamant about not shifting and said that the water level was rising at a very slow pace. Proving him wrong, the water level was high. By then, we could see a lot of reptiles enter the house.
A few of our friends we go to the church with had asked my father to move the car, but he thought that it wasn't necessary either. The ground floor was already getting flooded. Water was seeping in through the washrooms as well. Within seconds, the ground floor was flooded. We quickly shifted everything to the first floor and took our Jammy, our dog, to the balcony.
Jammy outside the house after the water level started rising
Jammy hadn't had anything since morning but wasn't ready to eat and ran around in panic. But, I guess he understood that the situation was serious when we moved him upstairs. He was calm all of a sudden and fell asleep. We were flashing the torchlight and making sure that the stairs aren't flooded.
None of us could sleep that night either. I told my father that we have to move out the next morning. At around 5 in the morning, my father went out to see how bad the situation was, only to realise that our car was completely submerged. Water was all around us. We quickly packed all our documents and a few clothes. We left a bowl of food for Jammy. It was impossible to take him with us. We felt really helpless.
It was risky going to the ground floor. We literally had to swim towards the door. The road that leads to my house is a slope, so had we taken that route, we would have drowned. My mother, father, my brother Jeremy and I decided to jump over the compound wall to the abandoned plot right next to our house. We had to walk through overgrown weed and thorny bushes to reach the main road to reach my grandparents' house.
The family's car at the time they left the house
We stayed there for three days. There were four families staying there already. A cousin of mine is pregnant and is admitted to a hospital nearby.
August 19 2018
My dad went home to find out that the house was covered in mud. We lost all the appliances and furniture. To top it all, someone stole a few things as well.
He went to check up on Jammy only to realise that we had forgotten to keep a bowl of water for him. The poor dog was thirsty and gulped down the water my dad gave him.
August 20 2018
Jeremy went home to give some food to Jammy, but he wasn't there in the balcony. He had jumped down and was roaming around in the streets. The moment he saw Jeremy, he jumped towards him and licked him. He was lucky that his legs are fine after that jump from the first floor.
My aunt and uncle who got stuck in their apartment got rescued as well and had moved to their relative's house in Kochi. Things are moving towards a better turn, but our house is completely gone. We have to start from zero now. But we will come back. Sun will shine brighter again, won't it?