India (MNN) — Just when you think it couldn’t get worse in India, it did. On Monday, Cyclone Tauktae hit India’s west coast killing over 90 people, including workers on a sunken barge. The storm had weakened by the end of Tuesday.
Cyclone Tauktae’s winds got up to 130 miles per hour, making it the Arabian Sea’s fifth-strongest cyclone since 1998.
That same 48 hours, India also saw a two-day streak of the nation’s highest COVID-19 death numbers.
Mission India runs Children’s Bible Clubs and Adult Literacy Classes in Gujarat state and some of their ministry partners were impacted by the storm. Erik* with Mission India says, “Many of their houses are just completely wrecked. One of the Adult Literacy Class teachers’ homes is made of tarps and just couldn’t stand up to the heavy winds. Another was made of wood and, as you can imagine, a bunch of sustained water [was] negatively impacting the wood.
“We’ve just seen so much damage to homes. Not just obviously our program and our partners, but many, many people in that area.”
Authorities tried to evacuate 200,000 people in Gujarat along the coast. But the pandemic and social distancing complicated the evacuation process.
Erik says, “You just heap this on top of a massive outbreak of COVID, you’re trying to evacuate and take care of people. But how do you do that really well and quickly when, as we all know, COVID spreads very quickly en mass? So there’s a large struggle going on right now.”
“Typically, the western side of the country doesn’t see these strong cyclones. Wind gusts got up to about 130 miles per hour so this was pretty substantial. I don’t know how long we’ll be paused. But it’s certainly impacting our ability to facilitate these different programs that we have going on in that region.”
For now, the ministry has paused its programs in India’s west coast area. But Mission India hasn’t paused its purpose to be the hands and feet of Jesus.
“Our biggest thing right now is our Relief Kits,” Erik says. “For $40, you can give a family of four enough food for four weeks and provide hygiene items to help them…get through COVID and hopefully prevent them from contracting the disease. But also now, as you can imagine, this totally disrupts a lot of people’s lives in India and the west coast there. So being able to provide a Relief Kit to those areas is crucial.”
To support a Relief Kit for $40, donate to Mission India here!
And Mission India wholeheartedly believes prayer is the first work of missions. So as they continue distributing Relief Kits, Erik asks for prayer over India.
“They’re still seeing over 260,000 new cases of COVID each day. And we believe that is still severely undercounted. And unfortunately, now it’s going into the rural villages who have even less access to healthcare. So you can imagine trying to figure out how to get oxygen to a rural village that has no hospital; in some cases, no doctor. How do you do that? How do you take care of people?
“So pray for the nation of India at large, but also specifically for this west coast of the country as they walk through this difficult time of COVID [and] now a cyclone that’s torn apart many areas.”
Header photo courtesy of Mission India.
*Name changed for security purposes.