Tuesday, 28 October 2014

An overview of Devipuram

Perhaps an overview of Devipuram, Sabbavaram would give a holistic picture of what I put down henceforth.

The place is about 40 - 45 kms from the port city of Visakhapatnam and was equally - if not more badly - battered by Hudhud on October 12, 2014.  We Salesians have a rehabilitation home for our Street and under-priviledged children exactly opposite to the small road leading to the temple at Devipuram.  We have about 101 boys staying with us and attending the local schools in the vicinity. There are also batches of young people who attend the vocational training courses offered by DB Tech, in another part of the same campus.

On the day of Hudhud, the children were at home and luckily none of them was injured or hurt. Of course, some crazy and weird media reports did do the rounds.  I was asked to help out at the place and I reached there exactly a week later.

On entering the city of Vizag, I gathered that the damaged done by the 7 hours of relentless winds blowing over 200 km/hr, was more than I imagined or witnessed ever before.  The city itself was most badly hit.  I could not trace one single tree standing intact; most of the huge and lush green trees were all uprooted.

At Sabbavaram, none of the 700 coconut trees, we have in our sprawling 19.5 acres of land, is intact.  Some 200 have totally fallen and the rest appear like the alien ships in the movie The War of the Worlds.  The 4 acres of cashew trees resemble something like a plate of noodles!  Most of the teak trees were flattened. Those that were spared of kissing the ground, appear as if someone chopped off not only its branches but every single leaf as well!  Not one electrical pole - neither in the campus nor on the state highway along which we have our home - is standing tall.  The electrical lines, even those of the high tension wires and poles are all strewn over the place. The oldest residential structure, one of asbestos sheets is bereft of all its sheets and is totally open to the sky. The other two buildings witnessed the sintex plastic water tanks being ripped off and flung a couple of kilometres away.  The kitchen, made of thatched palm leaves, had to rebuilt (temporarily) for all the poles and sticks supporting it have given way.  Even heavy metallic objects and every kind of odd household material can be found in the campus, most of which belongs to some neighbours living a couple of kms away.  The stench of dead poultry from the surrounding farms added the missing fragrance to the scene.  The swarms of houseflies by day and mosquitoes by night never missed offering their company and 'hospitality' to the handful of us inmates trying to rebuild our life.

[Letter of the director, appealing for assistance]

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