Kerala Floods: With Big Hearts And Boats, Kerala Fishermen Emerge As Heroes In The Rescue MissionLocal fishermen and volunteers rescue people in Kerala (Raj K Raj/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

As the Army continues to rescue people in flood-ravaged Kerala under ‘Operation Madad’, with the three wings of the armed forces, and the Coast Guard and National Disaster Response Force, fishermen from the state have also emerged as heroes, media outlets like News18 have reported.

Fishermen, who have turned bravely to pour help in the ongoing relief and rescue efforts in flood-hit Kerala, have saved people and pressed their own fishing boats into action.

Giving the rescue operations extra hands, morale and vigour, the fishermen, mostly from Kollam, Thiruvananthapuram, Kannur, Malappuram, Trissur and Ernakulam have gone against the monstrous currents and waded through dangerous water levels, to buildings and houses for saving people.

On Sunday (19 August), Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan announced that fishermen who participated in the rescue mission would be felicitated. He said, “the government would compensate them for the loss suffered. Apart from that, a boat would be given Rs 3,000 a day and the state would meet the fuel expenses”.

Several fishermen from the state have tapped their resources, energy and skills in combating challenging water levels to save lives in flood-hit areas.

Getting help and boats, however, has not been smooth during the last three days. As efforts to save lives in the difficult rescue and relief operations continued, Kerala government stepped up action against boat owners who refuse to cooperate by providing boats in flood-hit areas. Public Works Minister G Sudhakaran directed the arrest of such boat owners.

While the Navy is working rigorously in relief operations, more boats were required to meet the needs and scale of the rescue operations. Fishing boats and boats used for transport on backwaters were pressed into the operations in flood-hit areas. Three days ago, it was reported that Uttarakhand’s Praveen Rangar, a kayaking and rafting expert, is leading a team to help in the rescue operations with a team of 26 rafters, with 17 rafts and two kayaks.

According to this report, Zakariya, owner of ‘Lake Lagoons’, who was refusing to give his boats for the rescue operations, was arrested by police in Alappuzha.

The minister said that he had issued directions to seize boats for rescue operations, especially the boats in Vembanad lake for relief work in Kuttanad region.

In Alappuzha, more than 30 boats were seized under the Disaster Management Act. “I have ordered district collectors to arrest those boat owners who refuse to give their boats and seize their boats for rescue and relief operations,” Sudhakaran said in a Facebook post.

In the ongoing disaster management efforts, the fishermen have set an example by working in an organised manner, in units under leaders, to present a coordinated and robust mission. Some fishermen even made their fuel and food arrangements before joining the action.

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