Weeks after Kerala underwent a second consecutive year of floods and landslides, there are dozens of families still housed at relief camps especially in the state’s northern districts. The homes of many of these families were either ravaged in the floods and unfit for living or washed away in the landslides at Kavalappara and Meppadi. To spread cheers at these camps, Kerala’s ruling LDF government has taken a decision to distribute new sets of clothes for people at these camps during the festival of Onam. ‘Onakkodi’, or new clothes bought during Onam, is a tradition in the state.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan wrote on Facebook, “During this year’s Onam, many of the families are living at relief camps, unable to return to their homes. This Onam is theirs too. Our celebrations would be complete only when the cheers of Onam are transferred to them too.”
The cabinet chaired by Vijayan on Thursday in Thiruvananthapuram gave approval to the decision to give away new sets of clothes, or ‘Onakkodi’ to the inmates at the camps. The funds for the same will be allocated from the chief minister’s disaster relief fund. District collectors will be empowered to carry out the government decision.
The cabinet also decided to distribute ‘Onakkodi’ to around 61,000 people belonging to the Scheduled Tribe (ST) community. These are people above the age of 60.
During the 2018 floods, whose nature of devastation was much severe than this year’s edition, close to 7500 families had lost their homes. New homes, built together by the government, cooperative department and local organisations for these families, are set to be inaugurated around Onam this year.
“Onam has returned to these homes this year. Ministers, public representatives and officials would be present with them in these times of joy,” the chief minister wrote in another Facebook post.