Kerala temple tragedy leaves 15 houses ruined

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Kollam (Kerala), April 11 (IANS) Around 15 houses in the immediate vicinity of the Puttingal Devi temple were damaged beyond repair in Sunday’s deadly fireworks tragedy — in a pointer to the powerful explosive material that caught fire accidentally in the firecracker display.

According to women living in the vicinity of the temple, their houses are now beyond repair. “My house has been completely destroyed. The only way out is to demolish it and rebuild,” a 70-year-old woman told news persons.

The fireworks display, that went horribly wrong, left 109 dead and over 300 injured at the temple in the coastal town of Paravur in Kollam.

One of the women, Deepa, a representative of the local body at Paravur, said the tragedy has struck in more ways than one. “Apart from the injuries sustained by many, the people living nearby the temple have been struck by a trauma following the explosions and their aftermath.”

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Many damaged two-wheelers could be seen lying near the temple site, and bags and suitcases lay scattered around.

People of the area complain that their source of water has been contaminated by the burnt explosives and ash.

“Our well is now fully polluted after the blast. We have no other source of water,” said a housewife.

Another woman was angry over the visit of VVIPs, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi — both of whom were accompanied by their massive security cover — to the site of devastation.

“How come there was no security check when the fireworks took place? Are our lives not valuable,” she said bitterly.

More reports are emerging about damage to houses located within one square kilometre radius of the temple.

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“I do not have a single plate, glass or cup left. My window is also not left with any glass, everything is shattered. The locks of the closed doors and windows have all flown away due to explosion,” said another woman.

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