Fishermen in India’s Kerala State are being hailed as heroes for using their traditional wooden boats to rescue men, women and children from swirling flood-waters. “You are like our God,” a woman with folded hands told fishermen who saved her along with another female villager and 30 youngsters trapped in a children’s home in Alappuzha district, an area laced with waterways.
The fishermen, mostly Catholics and Muslims on the Arabian Sea coast, formed their own voluntary rescue service during flash flooding from Aug. 15-18.
While some people were just temporarily isolated by deluges, the lives of others were in serious peril as rising floodwaters submerged homes.
A team led by Raju Thomas from Trivandrum Archdiocese, some 200 kilometers away, carried their boats on lorries to the disaster area in central Kerala.
“We could not see the children’s home,” he said. “We found them after we heard the children screaming.”