THIRUVANANTHAPURAM : It was five years ago that Dr AP Sreekumar, a staunch environmentalist, installed a rooftop solar power plant at his house in Chengannur in Kerala’s Alappuzha district. Little did he know then that one day it would help save lives during the devastating floods in the state.
When the electricity board had turned off power distribution at Chengannur to prevent further danger following the unprecedented rain and deluge, Sreekumar’s house in the locality remained lit up. It sheltered five families from the neighbourhood.
It became a centre from where the refugees sent SOS messages, everyone charged their phones and remained connected to the outside world. “Even though we had enough power, we tried our best to reduce the usage as we did not know how long the uncertainty would prevail,” Sreekumar said. The doctor could also alert the local youths, who were carrying out rescue operations along with police, fire and rescue personnel, and save the lives of an elderly man and his son stranded in the neighbourhood. Fortunately, the house was not submerged as it is located on a higher plane.
Indukantham Hospital run by Sreekumar, which is again solar powered, had sheltered five other families, including that of two in-patients. Sreekumar and wife Dr Lakshmi Sreekumar had administered first aid to many fishermen who were injured in rescue operations. After the flood waters receded, the couple joined the medical camp at Chengannur.