Canadians fear for relatives trapped amid flooding in Indian state of Kerala

More than 800,000people have been displaced by floods and landslides

In the wake of deadly flooding in the Indian state of Kerala, Canadians with ties to the region fear for friends and relatives left stranded by the disaster that’s been called the worst in the country’s history.

More than 300 people have died this week in the wake of the flooding, officials said, and more than 800,000 have been displaced by the floods and landslides that are a result of heavy rains that began on Aug. 8.

“No one was prepared for this,” said Prasad Nair, president of the Mississauga Kerala Association, located west of Toronto. “Most people have lost everything that they have.”

Nair, who came to Canada from Kerala in 2003, said one of his relatives saw his house fully submerged in water and had to stay on the roof for two days before being rescued.

“The house that I lived in during my childhood has been fully submerged in water for five days,” said Nair, 47.

The international community needs to understand what’s happening in Kerala because the state will need help, he said.

“Most of us here are Canadians and we will always be a part of Canada, but a part of us belongs there too.”

Nair said the association will continue to fundraise for the disaster, but urged the Canadian government to pledge to donate, especially to rebuild, as officials estimate over 10,000 kilometres of roads have been damaged.

“We are working really hard to get an appointment with the PM’s office,” he said. “But we have not heard anything back from him yet.”

“Canada has the technology, ability and experience in these kinds of disaster operations,” he said.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Twitter Saturday that he sends his deepest condolences to those affected, and a spokesperson for Global Affairs did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Joe Thottungal, 46, came to Canada 20 years ago from Kerala and in 2004 opened a restaurant in Ottawa that serves Keralan cuisine.

He said it’s devastating to see the state he grew up in face such destruction.

He regularly returns to the region, and has for the past three years brought Canadians along with him to explore the state’s food scene.

Its tea plantations, backwaters and abundance of spices like cardamom are some of the reasons tourists are so keen to visit, he said.

Nelson Abraham, who also owns a restaurant in Ottawa, said some of his Canadian friends who travelled to the province are stuck because the airport is closed.

“Everyone that we know is safe, but a lot of people are suffering for the food and the drinkable water,” Abraham said, adding that he will return to India later this year to take care of his family.

“My mother is alone there, so I must go,” he said. “I think everything will be all right in the next month … at least I hope so.”

Global Affairs Canada said in a statement that its thoughts and sympathies are with the families and friends of those killed in the flood.

It said 3,748 Canadians in India have officially registered with the department’s emergency notification system, but this is not necessarily a complete picture of how many Canadians are in the country.

— With files from The Associated Press.

Gabriele Roy and Olivia Bowden , The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Several more days before salvage of barge can begin on Haida Gwaii

The barge and lodge broke away from their moorings in high winds on Sept. 8 and ran aground.

Photographer finds rare sights at Takakia Lake

It took three summers, but Gregory Gould finally saw vistas and meteors by the protected alpine lake

Haida Gwaii high schools get a jump on new curriculum

Haida Gwaii high school students are starting the year with some new… Continue reading

Haida Gwaii Funeral Services gets support

Village of Queen Charlotte donates storage facility to non-profit group

Tlellagraph: One fire, two points of view

“No matter how good a person you are, you are evil in… Continue reading

Canning sockeye by hand in North Coast B.C.

Arnie Nagy teaches the Northern View how to can salmon in Prince Rupert

VIDEO: Hundreds line highway as family brings home body of B.C. teen

Northern B.C. showed their support by lining Hwy 16 as Jessica Patrick’s body returned to Smithers.

B.C. premier apologizes for removal of 1950s totem pole at Canada-U.S. border

First Nations say pole was raised at Peace Arch but removed to make way for tourism centre

‘Summer from hell’: vandals rob Fort St. James community garden following devastating wildfire season

The community rallied to keep the Health Minds Community Garden open in Fort St. James

Tornado touches down in Ottawa and Gatineau, Que.

Environment Canada says cars and homes have been damaged by severe thunderstorms and high wind gusts

An unexpected sight: Bear spotted eating another bear in central B.C.

Cheslatta Carrier Nation Chief finds bear eating another bear’s carcass

RCMP confirm death of missing BC teen Jessica Patrick

No details on cause were given. Case is under criminal investigation and police are asking for tips.

CUTENESS OVERLOAD: 2 sea otters hold hands at the Vancouver Aquarium

Holding hands is a common – and adorable – way for otters to stay safe in the water

B.C. teen with autism a talented guitarist

Farley Mifsud is gaining fans with every performance

Most Read