Widespread flooding across India’s southern state of Kerala has left up to 400 people dead and close to a million displaced.
Up to 100,000 buildings were destroyed and millions of hectares of crops were washed away in the worst floods to hit the region in more than a decade.
The rains have diminished over the past week, but a huge clean-up operation lies ahead as the floodwaters recede.
Our partners, the Church of South India (CSI) have been assisting people throughout the emergency, distributing relief kits and providing emergency shelter for thousands of people. In the early days of the crisis, the Kerala Diocese of CSI generously opened their schools, churches and parish halls to become flood relief centres.
CSI Moderator, Most Rev. Thomas K. Oommen praised the “fighting spirit” of the people of Kerala and their willingness to help one another through the disaster.
“The active involvement of the people, especially the fisherfolk from the coastal areas of Kerala, [government] rescue operations, and the support of the churches and other religious organisations for the relief work are helping millions of people in this time of grave disaster,” said Rev Oommen.
Amid the crisis, inspiring stories have emerged.
Over the past fortnight, hundreds of fishermen from Kerala and surrounding districts used their boats to rescue thousands of people from the rising floodwaters. They are now being celebrated as national heroes.
Youth have been using social media to share the locations of stranded people and to pass on details of landslides and places where supplies were urgently needed.
UnitingWorld has been in regular contact with our partners in CSI and they have asked for continued prayer.
“On behalf of the Church of South India, we express our deepest sincere thanks for your continued prayers of solidarity, for all those who suffered loss of life and livelihoods in the floods at the State of Kerala and in the district of Kodagu. Although our words often failed to comfort and console them, we together with all our trusted partners like you, do our best to provide the help for those who are in need,” said Rev Dr Rathnakara Sadananda, General Secretary of CSI.
“Continue to pray for God’s unfailing compassion upon the flood victims and those who are affected by the land slides. Your prayers of solidarity will be of great strength and consolation to those who are passing through the most difficult time.”
UnitingWorld has sent funds to support our partners as they respond to these devastating floods.
Uniting Church in Australia President Dr Deidre Palmer has called all UCA members to pray for the people of Kerala and our partner church, the Church of South India. Click here to read Deidre’s prayer.