India (MNN) – Around 800,000 people have been displaced by the rains, floods, and landslides in Kerala, India.
Historic Flooding in Kerala
“Southern India, over towards the middle of August, had historic 100-year-flooding that has affected thousands and thousands,” World Mission’s Greg Kelley says.
“Twenty-six-thousand homes have been totally destroyed and over 350 people have lost their lives,” in Kerala alone.
Homes, buildings, bridges, and telephone lines have collapsed. Officials believe that about 6,200 miles of roads have been affected, and most, if not all, of people’s possessions, animals, and crops have been destroyed.
CBS News reported that in several villages in Chengannur, cattle carcasses were even seen floating in the water.
“It’s catastrophic. It’s the worst natural disaster that these people have seen in their entire lifetime,” Kelley says.
The northern and central parts of Kerala, including Chengannur, have been hit the hardest. These areas are home to 33 million people.
The downpours started on August 8. According to VOA News, some homes have been filled with floodwaters as high as three meters.
Waters have started receding, but rescue missions to save the thousands of stranded people continue.
P.H. Kurian, a top disaster management official in Kerala, said bottles of water are needed to transport to “remote and isolated places where some people are still stranded.”
Those 800,000 people who have been evacuated are going to more than 4,000 relief shelters for humanitarian aid and shelter.
Yet, even as the weather grows milder, flood waters recede, and belongings are dug from landslides, the people’s troubles won’t be over.
“In the next two months, it’s going to be survival mode. The people are just looking to get the next dish of food or the next container of clean water… but for so many people, it’s just literally starting over,” Kelley says.
“Every worldly possession they had, every item of clothing, every means of transportation, their agricultural areas, their animals, they’ve lost everything.”
Kelley says it’s imperative that the Body of Christ responds to this disaster out of love.
“What a missed opportunity if all we do is sit back and watch government entities and non-Christian NGOs respond and the Body of Christ is on the sideline. That would be a tragedy. The Body of Christ needs to recognize this as the right thing to do, but also an opportunity to have Jesus being proclaimed.”
The Kerala area is a Hindu-majority population. Kelley says it was difficult for Christians to mobilize in this area previously because of the spiritual hostility to the Gospel.
However, as believers give food and clothing to the displaced, people’s hearts are becoming less hostile to the Word because they see the love believers have for them and their families in their direst time of need.
“We just need to respond. We need to trust the Lord for the harvest of it all. We don’t need to do it with an agenda or expectation. We just need to respond out of a heart of compassion and love and allow the Holy Spirit to touch these people’s lives,” Kelley says.
World Mission’s partners are on the ground responding with food, water, clothing, and the Word of God.
Kelley says that right now, World Mission needs financial partners like you to help continue their effective responses.
“We have a camp that’s mobilized right now that has over a thousand people in it and they need medicine. They need food. They need clothing. So, right now we’re in the midst of buying these supplies for these people, and it’s a great opportunity for these people to participate.”
Support World Mission’s efforts and pray for those who have lost everything. Pray for their future and for hope.