More than 400 are reported missing, nearly 400 were killed, and 1.2 million people have taken refuge at relief camps in India’s southern state of Kerala, where there are 11 Nazarene congregations.
Reported as the area’s worst flood in a century, the August natural disaster was caused by the early onset of season monsoon storms that poured down 40 percent more rain than in an average year, including 10 days of continuously heavy rain, according to Reuters news service.
“Dams and water reservoirs became full. On August 14, the government gave alerts, and in the night many places had landslides, earthquakes,” wrote Rev. Abraham Daniel, a Nazarene pastor in Kerala. “Our state was under water for three to 10 days, only few places escaped. People lost their clothes, documents, houses, all their possessions.”
In mid-August, a Nazarene leadership team visited five districts in Kerala to bring compassionate support. The group, which included Rev. Daniel, the India Field strategy coordinator, and Rev. Trisha Das, the India Field coordinator for compassion ministries, contacted 1,000 families, handing out clothes, and food supplies, including rice, dhal and sugar. The team is still receiving follow-up calls from the new contacts, requesting prayers.
“We visit them every day to pray and comfort,” Daniel wrote. “Yesterday, I visited two villages that so far nobody had visited. Still, there are people nobody has reached. We need people who can contribute, money, clothes, utensils, mattresses, school bags, etc.”
Several Nazarene districts are sending financial support to the relief efforts in India, according to Rev. Rajiv Yangad, India Field Communications coordinator. “
“We know there are many non-government organizations and government agencies, but we, the Church of the Nazarene have a great part here,” Daniel added. “People and the government have acknowledged our presence here.”
Das is planning to conduct a second phase of relief and redevelopment work starting in mid-September.