As the people of Kerala recover in the aftermath of the worst flooding in nearly 100 years, the reality of devastation is beginning to sink in—and so is the need to repair, rebuild and start over again. Many residents in this southern Indian state have lost all their belongings—including their means to earn a living.
One flood survivor, Damyanti, was in a relief camp for four days.
"We could not take anything from our house," she said. "When we left the house, we were empty-handed. We did not take any house items or clothes. We do not have even an extra pair of clothes to change now. Our cow and sheep also died in the flood. We are in a difficult situation."
Like Damyanti, Jahangir and his family have lost their means of income and their home.
"We had a small stationary shop nearby our house," Jahangir said with tears. "We were able to meet our needs with the income we got from that shop. Now, the shop and the items inside the shop are destroyed. Our house is also damaged. The agriculture land is also under water now."
Dr. Daniel, director of GFA-supported medical ministry in Asia, reflects on the flood situation in Kerala and his trips to rescue people who were stranded.
“It is easy for me to sit back at home and watch the television and see the different things that are happening. But on the first day when we decided we needed to go help whoever we can, [we got] the idea of using a tractor. … As I moved just away from the main city … it hit me so bad. You could see shops submerged. … Roadside shops, vendor shops completely submerged. Then as we went inside, we saw … 100 people minimum crowding into one house, which would probably hold 10 people. And the only reason [for that was] because all the houses next to them were just single-story houses.
It is easy for me to sit back at home and watch the television....as I moved just away from the main city, it hit me so bad.
- Dr. Daniel Johnson, director of GFA-supported medical ministry
As the waters have receded and some standing waters remain, the biggest scare in Kerala right now is an outbreak of a disease called leptospirosis . This disease is caused by bacteria that is carried through the urine of animals. There have already been several cases of this disease in Kerala since the flooding, and many doctors fear an epidemic due to all the contaminated mud and water. Dr. Daniel is asking everyone to pray this sickness does not continue.
Even though things presently look bleak for Kerala, as many are left jobless and homeless, in addition to the ongoing relief efforts, more help is on the way.
GFA-supported pastors serving across India and their congregations, along with Sisters of Compassion and Bridge of Hope staff and students, are raising funds and sending supplies to Kerala.
Some Bridge of Hope students located in West Bengal held a banner with the words "Help Kerala" written on it. They and local GFA-supported workers were able to raise funds from the villages and communities they rallied in.
In response to the rally, one villager said, "It is very good initiative to raise the funds for Kerala flood relief work, as they are really in need of our help."
A local church in Kerala, led by a GFA-supported pastor, was able to help 82 families with relief packets. The relief packets contained items like mats, buckets, mugs, toothpaste, toothbrushes and soap to help families with basic necessities.
Helpers in Punjab donated 6.5 tons of wheat; a shipment of 10 tons of rice and another 2 tons of wheat is on its way to GFA-supported workers in Kerala. In Hyderabad, India, people are sending more than 2,000 clothing items for children, and in Odisha 1,000 sleeping mats have been donated for flood survivors.
Watch this encouraging video, as hundreds of volunteers help pack thousands of relief packets for those in need!
We thank you so much for your prayers and kindness to help the hurting in Kerala. Click here for updates and opportunities to assist Disaster Relief teams serving countless flood survivors.