Relief Group Aids 60,000 Flood-Hit Indians

Action by Churches Together International said it is providing meals for nearly 60,000 people in flood-ravaged southern India but is struggling to generate financial support.

ACT International Asia-Pacific program officer Michelle Yonetani said the agency is concerned that funding commitments have been slow to materialize, given the large number of people affected and the urgency of the relief effort.

Some 2.5 million people were left homeless after the worst floods in a century hit the southern Indian states of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka in the first week of October. Some 300 people were killed and at least 5 million people are crammed in temporary government shelters, according to officials. Many people were unprepared for the disaster considering the states are not prone to flooding.

Officials reported 4,300 villages were submerged by floodwaters andhalf a million houses were damaged or destroyed. Thousands of cattle and other livestock were killed and millions of dollars of damage has been done to standing crops, with fears that severe food shortages could result.

Nearly 2,000 camps are currently providing temporary accommodation for 677,000 people.

ACT is currently providing meals to 59,000 people in 73 villages. The relief group has scaled up the number of family relief kits and dry ration kits to 3,875 and is in the process of procuring 3,375 polythene sheets which families will use as temporary shelter.

However, urgent funding is needed to assist more families and survivors.

The Geneva-based agency said it has issued a $1.49 million preliminary appeal to assist in providing cooked meals, dry food rations, temporary shelter, household goods, materials for house repair and basic clothing to survivors. The appeal will fund relief efforts over the course of two to three months and will help 41,000 families. Some of ACT's programs will focus on marginalized communities, including Dalit groups.

ACT International is a global alliance of churches and related agencies working to save lives and support communities in emergencies worldwide Groups assisting in India are Churches' Auxiliary for Social Action, Lutheran World Service India and United Evangelical Lutheran Church in India.