After at least 73 people were killed in floods caused by monsoon rains in India's Kerala state, Caritas India and local Catholic groups are assisting victims of the torrent with relief materials.
More than 85,000 people in the southern Indian state have been displaced by the flooding since Aug. 9, which has also caused landslides.
“The Catholic Church is already out in the field through … Caritas India,” read an Aug. 15 statement from the Indian bishops' conference.
“Our local Bishops, Clergy, Religious Sisters and lay volunteers are also involved in relief and succour operations. In different dioceses, Church authorities have opened church schools and other institutions to the displaced people, and are distributing food, clothes and other relief materials. Many parishes, schools and other Church institutions have become the centres of aid and assistance to people in need.”
Caritas India is also providing blankets, mosquito nets, and hygiene kits. It has set up health camps to treat those affected and to prevent the outbreak of disease.
The Indian bishops stated, “We share the anguish of the people affected by this huge natural disaster and we wish to express our closeness to them.”
They expressed appreciation for the quick and efficient relief work undertaken by the local and State Government authorities. We also appreciate the strong and immediate support being provided by the Union government in the relief operations.”
“The solidarity manifested and the help being provided cutting across political divides and religious or class belongingness is exemplary … The Catholic Church condoles the death of our brothers and sisters who were caught unaware as nature’s fury took hold of large parts of Kerala. We express our solidarity with the injured and the suffering.”
The bishops also indicated their “ardent desire to work with the Government and all like-minded agencies to provide relief and help in all possible ways to the suffering people.”
They then stated that after the flood waters have resided, “it would be desirable to analyse the causes of the floods, and take urgent steps to preserve our environment and prevent further ecological damage to our Common Home, Mother Earth, destruction often brought about by our human actions.”
“We pray for all those affected and also for all who are actively or through contributions helping the people in dire distress.”