Revolution of volunteerism; Over 90% flood-hit houses fit to stay

The volunteer-driven cleaning drive is producing encouraging results. Over 93 per cent, or 1.05 lakh of the 1.12 lakh flood-affected houses, in the urban areas of the worst-hit districts of Alappuzha, Ernakulam, Kottyam, Pathanamthitta, Thrissur, and Wayanad have been cleaned and rendered fit for use.

However, the cleaning process of the flood-ravaged houses in rural areas, where the number of damaged houses are double than that in urban areas, has been relatively slow. Only 2.93 lakh houses, or 63.5 per cent of the 4.62 lakh affected dwellings, in the panchayat areas of these six districts have been buffed and secured for normal life. Together, till the August 28, only 4 lakh or 70 per cent of the 5.74 lakh flood-affected houses have been cleaned. As on August 28, 8.4 lakh people have returned to their homes from relief camps.

“A slower progress is not for want of volunteers, it is just that houses in many rural areas in Alappuzha, Thrissur and Wayanad are still submerged,” a top local self government official said. “Given the conditions, the state has done a good job,” he added.

The cleaning drive saw a surge of mass participation with international media referring to as the ‘revolution of volunteerism’.

A total of 1,474 wards in urban local bodies and 6,313 wards in panchayats were flood affected.
Right from policemen to schoolchildren have plunged headlong into the effort. In Alappuzha alone, 75,000 volunteers participated in the cleaning drive. Cabinet ministers themselves were found moving from house to house in gloves, gum boots, and long-handled mops. The cleaning strike rate, too, is high: 20,000 houses a day on an average.

One lakh sixty five thousand of the 2.6 lakh wells were also cleaned – 1.17 lakh in rural areas and 48,730 wells in urban areas. A total of 1,474 wards in urban local bodies and 6,313 wards in panchayats were flood affected. Ernakulam has the most number of affected houses: 2.16 lakh. Thrissur comes close behind with 1.3 lakh houses.

Equally commendable has been the disposal of biodegradable and non-biodegradable waste in rural and urban areas. Nearly 100 per cent disposal has been achieved in the disposal of both kinds of wastes in rural and urban areas.

During the cleaning process, 9,783 large animals – most of them in villages– 39,362 small animals, and 1.26 lakh birds were buried. Animal and bird carcasses lying unattended in the open is a health hazard.

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