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Fishermen – the Navy of Kerala

The century’s worst flood in Kerala has shown the real heroes of the time, the Coastal Warriors of Kerala. They came in their boats from several parts of the state. They sacrificed their life and livelihood. They haven’t gone to the sea for many days as their fishing boats were used for rescue operations. Over 150 boats and 675 fishermen from the vicinity of Don Bosco FCDP, Kollam were looking for stranded people in Chenagnoor and Ranni where the situation remained grave. The fishermen from Kollam were mobilized by the Salesian fathers of Fishermen Community Development Programme (FCDP), Kollam at the request of the district administration. They transported the boats by lorries arranged by Assistant Commissioner of Police and the District Collector. They rescued people from house tops and took them to relief camps. But later on, camps were affected by floods, so they rescued them again and took them to Chenagnoor Engineering College.  With the information from the Assistant Director of Fisheries (A.D), in the initial stage, they went with big boats but found it difficult to rescue because of the broken walls and electric lines, so they changed into smaller ones. In total, 282 boats went from Kollam district alone with three fishermen in each boat while a total 662 boats were part of the rescue operations in the whole of Kerala. The fishermen from port Kollam went to areas of Chenagnoor, Pandanad, and Mannathara.

The rescue was directly done by the fishermen while the FCDP headed by Fr. Joby Mattappally sdb, stood by them supporting in their ventures. After the rescue, the FCDP reached out with supplies and food to the relief camps. They had to carry boats on lorries to reach out to the relief camps that were surrounded by water. In the second phase, they distributed mattress, pillows, emergency lamps, chairs, blankets, sleeping kits, utensils, cleaning materials, clothes and food items to 217 people. FCDP’s efforts were ably supported by BREADS Bangalore.



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