India (MNN) — The rain won’t stop in northern India.
India’s northern Uttarakhand state and nearby regions of Nepal have already been pounded by four days of torrential rain, resulting in severe flooding and mudslides. Over 600 have lost their lives so far, and officials recently said they expect the disaster’s death toll to soar past 1,000.
“It is pretty severe; I would say this is one of the worst severe floodings in a very, very long time,” says Danny Punnose of Gospel for Asia.
According to the BBC, early monsoon rains are thought to be the heaviest in 80 years.
“Monsoon season means continuous rain, it does not stop,” Punnose adds.
This makes it harder to reach thousands of people whose homes and livelihoods were washed away by the deluge.
“No one can actually even get there,” says Punnose. “The roads are completely gone, they’re washed away; there is no way to get access to these people.”
Annual monsoon rains are beneficial for the growth of regional crops, including rice. This critical “rainy season” typically lasts from June to September.
But recent storms have brought more water than usual.
“Anyone who’s a farmer has pretty much lost everything; there is no hope for them,” Punnose states.
This puts food, along with clean water and shelter, high on the disaster relief priority list.
“A lot of times after tsunamis and these kinds of floodings, more people die from contaminated water than from the actual event,” says Punnose.
This video, by GFA’s Dr. Daniel Johnson, explains how waterborne diseases like cholera and dysentery can double a disaster’s death toll.
GFA teams are working on the outskirts of the disaster zone bringing food, clean water, temporary shelter and the hope of Christ to flood survivors.
“A lot of times, the concentration of everyone’s work is in the main areas, and they kind of forget [there are] lots of people on the outskirts also,” he says. That’s why GFA teams begin their relief efforts in oft-overlooked areas.
But they are making headway into ‘ground zero’ portions of the disaster zone.
“One of the things everyone’s waiting for is any kind of access, either roads or for the bulldozers to come in and move things, or military to do stuff,” says Punnose. “Once those things are cleared off, we can do a lot more.”
Ask the Lord to give national leaders wisdom as they search for ways to bring in relief. Pray for GFA workers as they become the hands and feet of Christ.
“We don’t just come in and do a little bit of work, take some pictures and move out,” Punnose says. “We actually stay there long-term and actually help people get back on their feet.”
“This is not just an awareness campaign; this is an actual event where people’s lives are at stake, and so they can make a difference by letting other people know,” Punnose says.
Pray that as more people become aware of this disaster, they will support relief efforts. Pray survivors whose world has been turned upside down will find solace in Christ.