The fishermen from coastal villages, especially from Trivandrum, Kollam and Malappuram, volunteered to the flood-affected areas for rescue operations with their boats. They were helpless for a half day since they couldn't manage the currents with the single-engine boats and other issues. They analysed the issue and found a solution of their own. Mobilized about 100 double engine boats, 300 skilled swimmers and opened own control room under Kerala Swathanthra Matsya Thozhilali Union (SMTU) - Kerala Independent Fishworkers Union - and started communicating between the district administration, Disaster Management Team, Indian Coast Guard and Police in the flood-affected region. The leader consults the local people to find out the target locations for the rescue operation and coordinates the rescue operations. A boat will have an outboard engine driver, an oarsman, an expert swimmer (SMTU mobilized about 300 skilled swimmers from coastal villages for this operation) and a local guide. They bring back about 20-25 people on a trip. In the last couple of days, they rescued thousands of lives even from the high-risk disaster zone where navy commandos could not reach. Despite the damages to their own fibre boats, outboard engines, minor to major injuries to the fishermen, they are swimming against all odds with a mission fuelled by passion and commitment to saving thousands of lives. People in the affected area magnanimously expressed their respect and gratitude to them. Mr. Pinarayi Vijayan, the Chief Minister of Kerala, praised them saying that ‘the fisherfolk are the army of Kerala’.
Trivandrum and Kollam also faced the heavy rainfall, but comparing to the other parts of Kerala, these areas were not much in the dangerous situation. This was a boon for the fisherfolk and they rushed to the worst affected areas with their boats those are carried by lorries.
The South Kerala Diocesan geographical areas cover Trivandrum and Kollam. Under the leadership of Rt. Rev. Dharmaraj Rasalam, the Bishop in the Diocese and the Officials of the Diocese, the Youth Movement gave leadership for the relief work in the affected areas. They have collected essential materials and distributed. If you want to support their activities, you can reach Rev. Sunil Kumar (Director, Youth Movement, Cell: 9995013319) or Mr. Jose Rajeevan (Secretary, Youth Movement, Cell: 9995013319)