Kerala floods: Dubai resident on vacation drowns

Ras Al Khaimah - Sunu, who is father to an eight-year-old, was due to celebrate his 10th wedding anniversary with his wife in June.



by

Dhanusha Gokulan

Published: Sun 30 May 2021, 5:57 PM

A UAE expat has met with a tragic end after he was swept away by floodwaters in Kerala’s Alappuzha district on May 28.

Sunu George, 34, worked as a driver in Ras Al Khaimah and had returned to Kerala for his annual vacations. Married for nine years and a father to an eight-year-old boy, Aden, George was visiting his wife Sherly Sunu George’s family in Chennithala village when the incident took place.

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Over the past weeks, Kerala has been experiencing heavy rains on account of Cyclone Tauktae. Known for its paddy fields and coconut groves, large swathes of Chennithala village have been submerged underwater due to overflooding.

George, who had been in Kerala for over 20 days, had stepped out to meet with his family after completing the mandatory post-travel quarantine. He was originally from Karunagappally in Kollam district.

His father-in-law, Joy Mambrathekhethil, a farmer in the village, told Khaleej Times, “George would come down to Kerala for his annual vacations every year. The incident took place after 8.30-9pm that night. It was a very pleasant full moon night, and George and some friends stepped out after dinner to enjoy the views. It wasn’t raining either; the skies were very clear.”

According to Mambrathekhethil, the locals are more familiar with which parts of the fields are safe to step on and walk over. “Since George was new to the area, he was not familiar with the terrain. He accidentally slipped into one such flooded paddy field and heavy undercurrents swept him away from his friends,” he explained. “It began raining heavily soon after, at 11 pm, making it impossible to find him,” he said.

The family and cops spent the entire night searching for him. Unfortunately, his mortal remains were recovered near another field a day later. Thomaskutty, a former Panchayat member of the village, said, “We tried our best to rescue him. The waterlogging in some parts of the village is up to six and seven feet deep. Furthermore, the undercurrents in the water-logged areas are very strong.”

The family is currently awaiting a post-mortem report from district officials, said Thomaskutty. “We are assisting the family to complete their final rites,” he added.

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George’s father-in-law said the family is hoping to conduct the funeral tomorrow (Monday, May 31) at 5pm. The couple were due to celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary in June this year.

“Their engagement ceremony was on May 28. My daughter is inconsolable. She feels like she lost her husband the same day he was promised to her nearly 10 years ago,” said Mambrathekhethil.

dhanusha@khaleejtimes.com

Photo: Supplied
Photo: Supplied

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