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Displaced by flooding

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The aftermath of torrential rains in Kerala State, India, in August 2018. Gilgal Mission Trust photo/Finny Velayutham

As the waters recede, the extent of the devastation emerges. People forced from their homes and land by torrential rains in August in India’s Kerala State are returning home. In many cases flooding and landslides have claimed lives, buildings, roads and livelihoods.

The flooding across 13 of the 14 districts in the state is believed to be the result of the worst monsoon season in a century. An estimated 500 people died and about 540,000 remain in camps and temporary accommodation.

John Bhattacharjee is MCC’s disaster response coordinator in India. He says people are struggling to recover from the loss of life and property. In one case, a family of 11 was washed away by the floodwaters. A woman who wasn’t home at the time is the only remaining family member.

Bhattacharjee says in the village of Nemmara – as in many places across the state – homes are gone or barely standing.

In partnership with Gilgal Mission Trust (GMT) in India, MCC is providing essential supplies to about 2,500 people displaced by the flooding as they return home. The president of GMT, Reverend Paul Phinehas, and his team, visited the areas hit by the monsoon rains.

The remains of the home of Radhakrishnan, Rathika and Rajesh Kumarasamy in the village of Nemmara.  Gilgal Mission Trust photo/Finny Velayutham

“Many families have lost all their belongings and many houses collapsed due to the landslides and are completely damaged,” Phinehas says.

MCC will assist 500 households in the Palakkad district of Kerala State by providing tarps, food baskets, cooking utensils, cleaning and hygiene items.

Bhattacharjee says the emergency assistance will focus on what he calls “the poorest of the poor.” They are migrant workers, day labourers and other vulnerable families with limited resources to rebuild.

“They do not have savings. They don’t have money to buy food and household items,” he says.  “Some of them are busy repairing their houses, but they need to go back to work as soon as possible to earn a living. Immediate relief will allow them to emerge out of this traumatic situation.”

The aftermath of torrential rains in Kerala State, India, in August 2018. Gilgal Mission Trust photo/Finny Velayutham

The relief supplies will be delivered to households during the first week of October by GMT. GMT has churches in the Palakkad district, where some church members are also dealing with the aftermath of the flooding.

GMT is a member of the Mennonite Christian Service Fellowship of India and has been an MCC partner since 2011. GMT also is an international affiliate of Conservative Mennonite Conference (CMC), a sponsoring denomination of MCC in the U.S. MCC and CMC are working together to raise money for this project.

[Julie Bell is a senior writer and editor at MCC Canada.

Mennonite Central Committee: Relief, development and peace in the name of Christ

Read the story online here: https://mcccanada.ca/stories/displaced-flooding

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