Published: 03rd September 2018
Lessons of 2013 floods helped this Kochi family survive the recent floods without panic
James Joseph, 47 year old and Aluva resident who have successfully survived the six days of panic at his home due to the floods that severely affected the region
While the mid-August flood caught many in the state unawares, for James Joseph, an Aluva resident, the experience gained from the 2013 floods helped him survive the recent deluge.
His family could survive the floods as he had the experience of 2013 floods, when the Idamalayar dam was opened.
The alerts from the government and the administration on the days of the 2013 flood helped James’ family prepare and stock up foods and essentials for survival.
"In 2013, we survived for 24 hours when the shutters of Idukki dam were opened," he said.
James, his family of five, and their seven neighboring families, were stranded for close to a week in their 10-storey building in Aluva, as rescue operations happened on war-footing around.
“On Aug 11, when the water level receded, we stocked up fruits, milk powders, and milk for the entire families. Even extra gas cylinders were bought, and it went on for six days. When the water entered the ground floor, we knew that generators will be switched off, but we were prepared for the worse,” he said.
By August 17, water went down, calming the tense situation. "We witnessed both rising water and water flowing back to the river," he said. Though rescue operations were taking place, James and his family were not panicked.
"We could see the water receding from the residential areas near us. So we knew things will be back to normal soon and we were the last to leave on Aug 21," he added.
During the time of crisis, rather than panicking, proper managing is required. "Stocking up food and cooking gas was a challenge, but rather than panicking we have stocked up all fruits, though they are perishables, including pomegranates were bought," James said.
“There was no connectivity and phones were draining out of batteries, and drinking water availability was also a challenge. We connected the hose to the fire hydrant on each floor. And since the pipe is really long, we could take that inside homes and fill up water. This way we could use water from the fire tank for drinking purpose," he added.
Meanwhile, James is happy that his daughters aged 10, 14, and 17 were also able to witness the survival training with what they have gone through those days.