Drought crisis worsened by scorching summer heat

By May 16, 2016

India (MNN) – Temperatures upwards of 113 degrees have turned the daily task of fetching water into a perilous mission in India. Ongoing drought conditions have been compounded by the arrival of an early summer.

People are dying on their way to get water. They’re waiting in long lines at water sources and pass out from heat exhaustion.

India Partners serves in some of the worst hit states—Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. Because their partners work with churches in several villages, they’ve been able to come alongside 25 villages.

Spreading Drought

Donna Glass of India Partners says the hottest months in India are usually May and June. This year, summer came early.

According to BBC, the Indian government estimates that 330 million people are affected by this drought in the southern half of India. They also report there are an estimated 9 million affected farmers.

Image courtesy of India Partners via Facebook.

Image courtesy of India Partners via Facebook.

Several sources recognize a rise in farmer suicide as a growing issue. And the water keeps drying up. In Beed, one of the hardest hit districts, only 300 out of 700 water sources remain, says BBC.

The Relief web says women are the hardest hit as they are the ones usually designated to get water. Children and women are dying as they walk miles to a water source, or wait in a long line. CNN, backed by many other sources, says the government estimates over 370 heat-related deaths as of early May.

Water sources continue to get contaminated as they dry up. (Image courtesy of India Partners via Facebook).

Water sources continue to get contaminated as they dry up. (Image courtesy of India Partners via Facebook).

Many are critical of what’s been done by the government to address the situation so far.

Glass says of the remaining water, “Those sources are very low water levels that are also becoming contaminated as people are taking their animals to it to drink.”

Without rain water to renew these sources, debris is collecting in the water as well.

“It makes the water unsafe to drink, so if they can even get water, it’s still making people sick.”

Giving water is giving life

While the government has been able to lesson some of the hardship in areas of India, their efforts haven’t been sufficient.

“And in even in some places where water is coming in that the Government is providing, it could be three to five days in between arrivals of fresh water being brought whereas we’re going in and bringing water every day so that they at least have enough to drink. And it’s fresh, it’s clean water.”

Image courtesy of India Partners via Twitter.

Image courtesy of India Partners via Twitter.

She shares the story of one grandmother who, too frail to walk the distance to water and too weak to carry it back, has been taking care of her grandson who lost his parents last year.

India Partners was able to deliver water to her village. “It brought joy and relief to them because now they have fresh water that’s coming on a daily basis into their village.”

Glass calls the water “life saving,” but for more than one reason. Each of their villages have a Christian influence, meaning there is a church and a pastor working there.

The tankards delivered by India Partners are for the whole village, not just members of the local church.

“And so some people will ask, ‘why are you doing this?’ and it’s because Christ has called us to serve each other—to provide what we can when we can.”

Glass says by walking in Jesus’ footsteps by caring for the least of these, they are sending a message of hope and life. “We’re trying to live out the Gospel and it’s what we’re called to do to our neighbors here in the United States, to our neighbors in India. […] That’s why it’s so important that we take action.”

For only $20, India Partners is able to provide a village of 400-500 people with water for a day. That’s less than it costs to get a steakhouse dinner or a haircut.

You can provide a village with clean water for a day, click here.

Image courtesy of India Partners via Facebook.

Image courtesy of India Partners via Facebook.

And if you’re wondering if you should pray alongside your gift, Glass says: “Oh, every day. Pray that people would see Christ in this service in the bringing of the water. Pray that the temperatures would drop.”

She asks you to pray for the lines not to be so long that people die while waiting to get water. Also, pray for the monsoons to be a relief this year.

“If they don’t have enough rain, the whole cycle starts over again next summer,” Glass says.

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