Rowing Between the Rooftops: The Heroic Fishermen of the Kerala Floods(Paperback Edition)
by Rejimon Kuttappan
In August 2018, when the worst floods in a century hit Kerala, fishermen risked their lives, their boats—their only source of livelihood—and their health to rescue thousands of stranded flood victims. They spent days and nights soaked to the skin, steering on empty stomachs. They had to navigate the wild flood’s treacherous undercurrents and dive into dirty waters, risking disease and injury. Sometimes, they had to carry people or act as footstools to help them climb into the boats. They would even swim alongside the boats, so that more people could fit.
Veteran journalist Rejimon Kuttappan draws on years of friendship with the fisherfolk along the Thiruvananthapuram coast to bring their stories to the world—in their own words. Through interviews with fishermen, government officials and flood victims, as well as extensive research, he brings to life the daring heroism and heart-wrenching sorrow of those terrible days. In the process, he reveals the precarious lives of the fisherfolk communities—threatened by climate crisis, coastal erosion and a rapidly changing way of life.
This book is both a chronicle of heroism and a tribute to the enduring courage of a community that saved Kerala in its moment of need.