Hundreds of people poured into St. Mary’s church at Kavali to bid farewell to all the six members of Ottalunkal family, who were killed in a landslip that ravaged much of the village, nestled in the foothills of the Western Ghats.
The pall of gloom that descended over the village deepened as loud wails of the victims’ relatives and friends rent the air. Xavier and Baby, parents of Sini Martin, one of the victims, remained inconsolable.
The mortal remains, kept at a private hospital in Mundakkayam after post-mortem examination, were brought to the church by afternoon and kept there for some time for people to pay homage. Bishop Mar Joseph Kallarangatt and Auxiliary Bishop Mar Joseph Muriken led the funeral services.
Minister for Cooperation V.N. Vasavan and Minister for Devaswom K. Radhakrishnan paid homages to the deceased on behalf of the State Government. Anto Antony, MP; Sebastian Kulathungal, Mons Joseph and Vazhoor Soman, MLAs; and district panchayat president Nirmala Jimmy were present.
All six members of the family — Ottalunkal Martin, 48, his mother Claramma, 65, wife Sini Martin, 45, and three daughters Sona, Sandra and Sneha were swept away by deadly torrents of mud, water and debris that had hit Kavali on Saturday. The bodies were recovered following a gruelling combing work through the debris.
With the floodwaters receding, the impact of the devastation has begun to emerge in Koottickal panchayat, one of the worst-hit locations. Several houses and commercial establishments were destroyed in the flash floods and vehicles lie scattered like toys amid the debris.
Almost all buildings in the Kottickal and Yendayar towns remain filled with slush. Windows were smashed by the gushing waters with their frames buckling. The back-to-back landslips that hit the region on Saturday claimed a total of 12 lives, while many had a providential escape from the surging water.