India (MNN) — They saw the rats coming, but now farmers and their families must deal with the aftermath.
Every 50 years, the blooming of the bamboo seems to cause an explosion in the rat population. It's a plague referred to as Mautum. Once the seeds of the bamboo have been completely devoured, the rats move on to the crops.
Dr. Ro Pudaite of Bibles for the World recently visited Manipur state where the situation has left thousands of families in desperate need. After an investigation by an Indian newspaper, Pudaite says they reported "52 villages with 4,800 families are really starving right now."
During a meeting with village leaders, a farmer shared with Pudaite the story of his crop. "I thought I was going to have the best harvest
bumper crop this year. Then just one week before I was to harvest, a plague of rats came over my farm. Overnight they destroyed everything, and I do not even harvest more than two bushels of rice."
The neighboring state of Mizoram is offering a reward for every rat killed. So far, the government of Manipur offered only "three rat traps to a village, but it cannot fight
millions of rats, and its kind of a joke," said Pudaite.
The famine has been made worse since many farmers chose not to plant a crop at all for fear of the coming rat plague. "Since the government is not doing anything right now, we are trying to do all we can," said Pudaite. They have already shipped four loads of rice.
By reaching out to these people, they are, in a sense, sharing Christ. "Love is the strongest message you can send to people in need. It's going to open the door of their hearts to know that somebody who loved the Lord Jesus Christ came," said Pudaite.
The cost of providing rice for a single family for an entire year is $545. Click here to visit Bibles For The World's Web site.