Monsoon rains bring devastation to South India

Church appeals for aid in the wake of Kerala flooding

Flash floods spawned by monsoon rains in India’s Kerala State have left 164 people dead and over 100,000 driven from their homes due to rising flood waters. On 17 Aug 2018 India’s National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) reported it had deployed 53 teams across the state, with 13 of Kerala’s 14 districts under a state of red alert, the highest warning level issued during emergencies in India.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has directed the army to engage in relief and rescue operations and in a comment released via Twitter said “Later this evening, I will be heading to Kerala to take stock of the unfortunate situation due to flooding.”

This year’s monsoon season has seen higher than normal rainfall, with 34 of Kerala’s 40 reservoir’s at full capacity after ten days of rain. The state government announced it had been compelled to open the dams to prevent their collapse, sending more flood waters into the inundated lowlands.

The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has reported that heavy rains are expected to continue for several more days, and that this year’s monsoon rainfall is almost 50 per cent higher than last year.

In a video and statement released via Facebook, the moderator of the Church of South India urged people to open their doors to those driven from their homes by the flood waters.

The statement read:

Most Rev. Thomas K. Oommen, the Moderator of the Church of South India (CSI) and the Bishop in the Madhya Kerala Diocese, appeals the people in Kerala to extend their support to the flood- victims in Kerala. He, along with the five other CSI bishops in Kerala, is leading the relief work and personally visit the flood-affected areas. He has already encouraged the CSI Bishops in other states to extend the support and receives positive responses.

In this video, He describes the gravity of the flood, because this is unprecedented and most of the areas of Kerala are gravely affected. The Moderator calls for a proactive response from people and expresses his solidarity with the suffering people. He congratulates the dioceses in Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Andhra, and Karnataka, and the members of CSI churches abroad, who have already extended their support. He draws the attention of the people to not only the immediate needs but the need of rebuilding the houses, institutions and other buildings, and the financial support many of the victims may need when the water recedes. He prays for the victims and encourages the church members to pray for each other and for the people of the Kerala state.


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