India (MNN) — Bamboo flowering season may be happy times for swamping rats, but it's causing incredible hardship on people in southwest Manipur, India. Farmers are fighting a tough battle for survival as the rats multiply rapidly beyond their control and are eating everything in sight.
According to reports, laying traps and guarding crops have failed to stop the millions and millions of rats that are feasting on the flowering bamboo. Unfortunately, the rats are causing starvation in the region as well, according to founder and president of Bibles for the World Rochunga Pudaite, who is from the region. He says the rice harvest is devastated.
"Last year there was no harvest among our people. I just got word that the second wave of these rats have moved in just before harvest again. In my old village, they said there isn't enough to even last a week when the harvest was done."
Laying traps and guarding crops for months together have failed.
"Many farmers do not reap even ten baskets of rice as the rats ravaged our fields," said Lala, a farmer from Damdiei village in this hill State.
Thousands of people are affected by this phenomenon. Pudaite says, "The most seriously affected right now are 5,800 families who are on the verge of starvation. These are all Christians. When they report to the Hindu government, they simply do not respond because the Hindus worship rats as one of their gods."
There has been no word from the government on how it plans to tackle the crisis.
The famine-like situation is forcing Bibles for the World to provide relief to these people. "We're going to need about 10,000 bags of rice every month to keep them alive. $45 every month will buy a bag of rice, and then $545 will supply enough rice for a family for a full year."
Pudaite says they need about 6,000 families to cover the $45 cost each month. Helping to sustain these believers will be an incredible witness for Christ in this predominately Hindu area. It will also help sustain a missionary-sending area. Pudaite says this village has sent out more than 100 missionaries.
The situation is desperate. If you'd like to help, call Bibles For the World in the USA at 1-888-382-4253. You can also send your donation to them:
Bibles For the World, PO Box 49759, Colorado Springs, CO 80949