The legislator from Chengannur in Kerala’s Alappuzha district, Saji Cherian, broke down in a live interview with a Malayalam news channel late on Friday while narrating the bleak flood situation in his constituency.
“Please ask [Prime Minister Narendra] Modi to give us helicopters, give us helicopters... please, please; 50,000 people will die otherwise,” Cherian said during the television show on Manorama News. “We have been demanding for Navy assistance since the past four days and still haven’t received any help. Airlifting is the only solution. Please, please, please.”
At least 50 people were lying dead in Chengannur and many more could perish if help was not sent on an urgent basis, News18 quoted Cherian as saying. The legislator said authorities were trying to rescue people with the help of “10 to 15 boats of poor fishermen”.
The water rose to dangerous levels in the town after the shutters of the Kakki, Anathodu and Kochu Pampa reservoirs, along with part of the Sabarigiri hydroelectric project in Pathanamthitta district, were opened following heavy rainfall.
Chengannur is one of the worst-affected areas and people there have not received much help. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan admitted during his press conference on Friday evening that Chengannur was one of the places where the rescue teams were struggling to operate. Vijayan announced that 15 Army boats would reach Chengannur on Saturday morning but Cherian was of the opinion that it would be too little and too late.
“Not even one helicopter has come here,” the Communist Party of India (Marxist) legislator told The News Minute. “If you send a helicopter, we will pay the money for it. Please send us one. There is no one to help. Only 10 to 15 fishing boats belonging to poor fishermen are engaged in rescue works. That also we managed to get through political pressure. But those boats will not reach most places.”