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Church of South India appeals for help as flood waters “wreak havoc” in Kerala

Posted on: August 14, 2018 4:17 PM
Rescue personnel patrol flood waters on the banks of Periyar River after the opening of Idamalayar and Cheruthoni dam shutters following heavy rains, on the outskirts of Cochin, in Kerala.
Photo Credit: Sivaram V / Reuters

At least 39 people are now known to have died as unprecedented torrential rains causes severe flooding in parts of Kerala, India. In addition to the high death toll, there are many more people who are suffering from flood-related injuries. The six dioceses of the united Church of South India (CSI) are already active in relief work. The CSI is urging “all the Christian organisations in India [and] sister churches to express their solidarity and proactively engage in the relief work, which will be a great support they can extend to the Keralites in this time of calamity.” The Anglican Alliance, which helps to co-ordinate the work of Anglican relief agencies around the world, is planning a conference call to organise international support.

The dioceses of East Kerala and Malabar, in the eastern hilly areas of south India, are badly affected by the floods and landslides. Low-lying areas in Cochin diocese are also heavily affected. “Houses are destroyed by the floods and gushing water from the dams in fury,” the CSI said. “Educational institutions and religious buildings including churches are destroyed by this vigorous southwest monsoon.

“Life is at a standstill, and people are faced with the stark reality that it will be a herculean task for most of them to bring their life back to normalcy. Thousands of people lost all their belongings except the dresses they are wearing. There are all the chances of the spreading of contagious diseases as the result of the floods. Food, clothes, and medical aid are the immediate need of the people in distress.”

The Indian government have established more than 600 relief camps to house those displaced by the floods. Heavy rains continued to lash the state triggering flash floods and landslides, which have destroyed houses and other buildings.

“Kerala in recent history has never witnessed heavy rains as this, which forced the state government to open the shutters of around 22 dams, including Idukki damn, which is the biggest arch dam in Asia,” the CSI said. The Church said that the floods have “wreaked havoc” in 10 of Kerala’s 14 districts.