While money and supplies are pouring in from all quarters to help the flood victims, the fishermen in Kollam have offered something else to them - their livelihood.
They haven’t ventured into the sea for the last couple of days as their fishing boats, their only source of income, are now being used for rescue operations.
Over 150 boats and 675 fishermen from the district are looking for stranded people in Alappuzha and Pathanamthitta, where the situation remains grave.
A community used to nature’s fury, the fisherfolk were more than willing to cooperate when the district authorities approached them. “We asked for 100 boats and they offered more. They came forward to volunteer the same way they would if it was a local calamity. There was no compulsion from our part. In fact, they consider it their duty to help while the entire State is reeling under the enormity of the situation,” Basil Lal Hubert of the Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies, who coordinated the activities, said.
In a rare and kind gesture, they handed over the boats that were transported to the rain-ravaged districts in trucks.
It was the fishermen from Vadi, Moothakara, Neendakara, and Alappad who decided not to work and offer their boats to the people in need.
The boats and the fishermen will remain where they are till the rescue activities are over. The first batch of 29 boats, along with their crew, reached their destinations on Thursday night and the rest were taken on Friday.
“If needed we will be able to arrange more crafts,” said Mr.Hubert.