Salvation Army Pledges Long-Term Aid for West India Flood Victims

In the wake of the devastating monsoon that ravaged many parts of India over the summer, the Salvation Army has pledged long-term assistance for the flood victims in western India.

"Following an assessment visit by a consultant from The Salvation Army’s International Emergency Services office in London, a commitment has been made to further assist in the recovery," read a statement released by the Salvation Army on Friday.

As part of the long-term recovery plan, the Salvation Army is going to replace home furnishings for 2,000 families in the slum areas of Mumbai. In Gujarat, the Salvation Army will participate in the rebuilding of 400 rural homes.

The recovery project will be funded by the US$260,000 donation of Salvation Army units in the United States.

Since the onset of the monsoon season of India in June, huge storms continue to attack many parts of India. In July, a cyclonic storm brought incredibly heavy monsoon rains and massive flooding to a large area of western India.

In the state of Mumbai, much of the city of nearly 18 million inhabitants was submerged under several feet of water after one 18-hour period a world record 944 mm (37 inches) of rain, the Salvation Army reported.

In the neighboring state of Gujarat, more than 600 villages were isolated by rising flood waters and thousands of homes were lost.

The Salvation Army estimated that the massive flooding has claimed more than 2,100 lives in western India until now.

The latest monsoon rain, which lashed the state of Gujarat for the last two days, killid at least 15 people, officials told the Agence France-Presse (AFP) on Saturday.

The officials added that the rains in Gujarat have begun to cease as the weather has moved towards the northeast. Flooding, however, continued to be of concern as rains were still pounding states bordering Gujarat, according to AFP.

Apart from the latest relief in western India, the Salvation Army continues to deal with the aftermath of the flooding in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh, which was battered by powerful storms since Tuesday.

At least 58 people died and 150,000 others lost their homes or have been displaced since Tuesday, an official told AFP.

In spite of great difficulties, Salvation Army personnel have distributed rice rations and cooked food for up to 20,000 families, after wading through deep water to distribute emergency rations, the Salvation Army reported.

The organization is currently assessing the extent of the damage and looking at long-term ways to help the victims.

The Salvation Army has also decided that it will continue to supply food parcels to Andhra Pradesh for another month because food production has ceased in flooded fields.

Colonel M. C. James, Territorial Commander of the India Central Territory, said in the Sept. 23 statement, "The people are suffering very much ... we need to do more to help thousands of people in Andhra Pradesh. Please remember these people in your special prayers."