August 1 began the worst flooding in 100 years for the state of Kerala, India. As monsoon rains poured down, water levels quickly rose higher each day. Dams that had not been opened in decades filled up to dangerous levels. To release the mounting pressure building up against the dam’s walls, dams were opened. A torrent of accumulated rain water added to the unrelenting monsoon. Rivers overflowed their banks, and water rushed through fields and villages. One deluged river, the Karuvannur, engulfed 40 villages.¹
Over the next 20 days, hundreds of thousands of people fled their homes, abandoning them to the murky waters. Many stranded families waited days for rescue vehicles to find them.
Within 10 days, more than 53,000 individuals found shelter in relief camps throughout the state. A week later, on August 17, the same relief camps were bursting with 300,000 displaced people.²
The world took notice as news outlets began reporting about the devastation. Tweets flew up from Indian Prime Minister Modi; NASA released pictures of a blue sea covering the formerly lush green state; and Gospel for Asia (GFA) released daily updates on the people affected.
After nearly three weeks of worsening conditions, on August 20, the monsoon rains slowed. Thirty inches of rain had fallen in a record-breaking 20 days. More than 100,000 people were housed in relief camps, not knowing if their homes still stood.
Gospel for Asia (GFA)-supported workers serving in Kerala immediately began rescue missions and provided help and comfort to those devastated by the flooding. As news spread, Gospel for Asia (GFA)-supported workers across Asia collected donations and held rallies on behalf of the afflicted residents of Kerala.
Workers Rally for Relief
In northwest India, Sisters of Compassion dedicated a week to flood relief fund raising. They visited houses, markets and railway stations in several villages collecting money to support the relief effort. Everyone in this area knew about the terrible flooding, and people eagerly opened their hearts and wallets to help those in southern India.
Several pastors’ families and Sisters of Compassion in north India held a rally to raise money for flood victims. As young and old walked through the streets with signs and banners, many stopped to contribute funds.
Rattan, a hardware store owner who donated, said, “[I’m] happy to see you all roam around to help the flood-affected victims in Kerala. God bless you all.”
The successful rally elicited encouragement and support from the whole community; even a man driving by stopped to donate to the cause. He thanked those participating for helping flood victims in need.
Ganesa, a software engineer, was on her way to work when she stopped to donate. She shared that she is praying for the flood victims as well.
Through the rally, a significant sum was raised to donate to the Kerala flood relief effort. The Gospel for Asia (GFA)-supported workers were happy to walk in the footsteps of Paul, who spearheaded a collection throughout nations to help the suffering Jerusalem church, as recorded in Romans 15:25–29.
Committed to Rebuild
By the end of the flooding, almost 500 people lost their lives, and more than 1 million people were displaced in Kerala. Flood waters caused more than $2.7 billion in damage.³ Much of this damage was to acres of farmland, homes and village centers. As the communities continue to rebuild their lives—an effort that will take years—Gospel for Asia (GFA)-supported workers all across Asia will not forget these people in need.
Please pray for:
- God’s comfort and peace for those who have lost homes, crops or loved ones—and for many to embrace His love.
- Continued provision and grace for Gospel for Asia (GFA)-supported workers serving in Kerala as they minister to suffering people and help with the rebuilding phase.
- Wisdom and resources for reconstruction.
Relief eases burden after flooding impacts more than 300,000 in Sri Lanka.