More than a month after torrential rains poured down upon the state of Kerala in southwestern India, the situation of thousands of people remains very precarious. “This is the worst flooding in a century, so the people of Kerala have never dealt with a deluge of this magnitude before,” says Fr. Paul Moonjely, director of Caritas India. There has been widespread destruction that has led to:
- 491 deaths due to landslides and floods.
- 100 operational relief camps.
- 1,832 fully damaged homes.
- 21,775 partially damaged homes.
Receding water has left more than 700,000 people homeless and without means of subsistence. Needs in terms of water, provisions, medical supplies, and hygiene still remain significant. As most agricultural workers and daily wage laborers have lost their sources of income, there is an immediate need to restore crops within the next months according to the seasonal calendar. Also, people living with a disability are in urgent need of assistance as they have lost their wheelchairs and other aids.
The response from Development and Peace – Caritas Canada
At the outset of the crisis, Development and Peace allocated $50,000 to provide rapid support to the most vulnerable and marginalized people. Its partner, Caritas India, is supplying emergency aid to poor communities living in the most isolated areas. Together, our action has made it possible to distribute food, basic necessities, and hygiene kits to 10,584 families in Alleppey, Kottayam, and Wayanad districts.
In the weeks ahead, through the Caritas Network, aid will be provided to 14,500 families in Idukki, Pathanamthitta, Alleppey, Thrissur, Changanasserry, Mavelikara, Kottayam, Thalassery, Tiruvalla, Punalur, Muvattupuzha, Ernakulam-Angamaly, Kottapuram, and Irinjalakuda. In addition, we will help restore 450 homes and the livelihoods of 1,250 small agricultural enterprises and small businesses.
It will take a number of months to rebuild housing and infrastructure. Moreover, with the effects of climate change, the monsoon may last several more weeks and new flooding cannot be ruled out. “We ask all our supporters to extend a helping hand. This is our chance to show solidarity with those who have lost everything and who are desperate for help. In times like this, every second and every donation counts,” says Fr. Moonjely.