A compassionate side of the flood relief and rescue operations in Kerala shone to light in Nilambur, one of the worst-affected regions in the northern part of the state. At a public meeting of all stakeholders held to discuss the post-flood rebuilding measures on Thursday at Pothukallu, local MLA PV Anvar broke down in the middle of his speech, describing his helplessness as a public representative in the face of a monstrous calamity.
“Instead of waiting for government aid, we must join hands to provide emergency relief to all these people. We have to ask help from people of other states and countries. Even if an average Malayali contributes Rs 100 (it will help), because our constituency has been reported to have had losses of Rs 3000 crores. We are sure that we will help the people of our land,” said Anvar.
He continued, “For the past five-eight days, I have been seeing the worries and problems directly. I don’t know what to do or say. We cannot see the tears of those who have lost their loved and dear ones. To people who have lost their entire earnings in a single night, the helplessness I felt as an MLA as to what I could do to assuage their feelings, sometimes I feel suffocated…(breaks down).”
It took a few seconds for Anvar to regain composure on the stage. “We have to do everything we can to help these people,” he said, whimpering.
“As a beginning to this rebuild initiative, I want to pledge Rs 10 lakhs in my personal capacity, seeing these circumstances. I take moral responsibility for this. I will also be with you, as a brother. That’s all I want to say,” the MLA said, concluding his speech.
Anvar, an Independent MLA with allegiance to the ruling Left Democratic Front, has played an active role in the relief and rescue measures in Nilambur, particularly in Kavalappara, the site of a landslide where over 50 people are reported to have been killed. His camp office in Nilambur town has been operating as a collection center for flood relief supplies. He has also used his official Facebook page effectively to reach out to rescue and relief teams from other districts, often replying to them, and even giving out his phone number.
In the 2016 Assembly elections, Anvar ended decades of Congress rule, particularly the fiefdom of strongman Aryadan Muhammad, in Nilambur when he was voted MLA by 11,000 votes.