Thousands of migrant workers leave flood-ravaged Kerala

Thousands of migrant workers have left flood-ravaged Kerala from north and northeastern India through two special trains in the last 10 days, The Indian Express reported. The labour department gave accommodation to the stranded migrants along with local residents in relief camps.

“One camp at Aluva in Ernakulam had 150 migrants from West Bengal. After the camp was shut, most of them left for their home state on Friday. There were migrant workers in camps in Perumbavur and Kothamangalam regions. Those who are leaving Kerala had been staying in affected areas. Once trade and construction is normal, they will come back,” said a revenue department official.

In Ernakulam district, Perumbavur and nearby areas have the largest concentration of migrant workers. Perumbavur municipal chairperson Sathi Jayakrishnan said the loss of jobs had prompted the migrants to leave. “Those engaged in construction and odd jobs have left the region. Shops in flood-hit regions remain closed,” she said.

A construction worker, Salim Gain said he was returning along with six others. “My boss told me that there is no job,” he said.

He said they were living in an under-construction building when Aluva region got flooded. “We stayed on the third floor. Our mobile phones went off. We drank rain water for two days. When the water retreated, we moved to the camp.” Sinbad Gain, 20, said they had planned to quit earlier, but there was no money. “Yesterday, our supervisor gave money for tickets,” he said.

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