Church and ministry leaders in India are calling for intense prayer as relief teams reach out to minister to tens of thousands of families affected by India's heaviest rains in 100 years, according to a ministry serving in the most unreached areas of Asia.
After being hit with up to more than 37 inches of monsoon rain in one day, Mumbai formerly Bombay and other parts of western India suffered floods and landslides that have killed at least 900 people so far.
"More than 283,000 homes have been destroyed and 16,000 villages have been hit, said Gospel for Asia President K.P. Yohannan, who called the floods a "huge tragedy of unbelievable magnitude."
"These are people who live in shacks with dirt floors, and everything they owned was swept away, Yohannan added.
Currently, GFA reports that its Compassion Services teamsincluding more than 100 pastors, staff and studentshave been joined by dozens of the ministrys local Church members in providing food and other relief services in the face of continuing heavy rains.
"We have already launched relief operations and have set up camps at various locations in Mumbai," said Pastor Mathew, a senior GFA leader. "Our system and volunteers are already in place. [The] area coordinator for Mumbai and our regional director are coordinating the relief operations."
According to GFA, the teams began by visiting five slum areas in Mumbai. The city's slums, where 5 million of the city's 16 million people live, were particularly hard hit. The wealthier neighborhoods of southern Bombay, however, were largely spared the flooding that hit the rest of the city.
More than 5 million people already struggle to exist in hundreds of slum colonies in the city, and most have yet to be reached with relief supplies, the agency reported. Many areas need medical help, drinking water, food, temporary housing, and the removal of debris and filth.
Despite renewed warnings from authorities to evacuate, residents in shanties built into small, crumbling hills in the city's northern neighborhoods said they had no place to go, the Associated Press reported Sunday.
"We came from the village because there is no work there. This is our home now," Sakina Yusuf, a housemaid with three children, told AP. "I know they say it's unsafe ... but move where?"
To make matters worse, new heavy rains pounded Mumbai and the surrounding state over the weekend, badly hampering cleanup efforts and the distribution of food to needy residents.
Meanwhile, soldiers, civil defense teams and aid workers continued to find bodies in the state's worst-affected districts.