MANGALURU: Even as Kerala was reeling under floods, celebrations were held on a church premises, which served as a relief centre, as members of the church cooked and shared meals with the residents.

Dr Prathvimraj BU from Mangaluru who was part of the operation said: “There were people of all faiths in relief camps and despite the despair, celebrated with joy.”

A community medicine specialist, Prathvimraj said there were two Muslims at the church relief centre, including one of his students, Neswin. “Though and payar (gruel and beans) and not biryani was part of the meal, it was the best Eid,” a jubilant Neswin said.

The floods wreaked havoc in Cherikkal in Pathanamthitta, the worst-hit . It was on the seventh day after the devastation that Prathvimraj and his team could reach the place. “Our team was the first from the medical department to reach this place. People were so united and looked out for each other for seven days. Until then, they had received only biscuits and snacks from helicopters.”

He also recalled how a policemen doubled as a float guide. “When we were stranded as boats did not arrive to take us back, a cop manoeuvred a float and took us to a relatively dry place. His police station was flooded,” Prathvimraj said.

Among those stranded, the doctor recalled, was a bedridden paralytic patient and his young neighbour who needed dialysis. “There were cardiac cases as well. We couldn’t store insulin and nebulisers due to power outage. Miraculously, both these patients are safe.”

The floods also broke barriers between the rich and poor. The doctor said food and essentials could be supplied to everyone stranded as a rich merchant lent all his Taurus vehicles free of cost to the government.

Prathvimraj lost crucial documents such as PAN card and driving licence. “I returned to Mangaluru for a day so I could apply for fresh documents,” he said, before leaving for Kerala.
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