UK churches respond to South Asia floods emergency

By staff writers
August 4, 2007

Emergency staff associated with the UK-based churches' development agency Christian Aid in South Asia are working with local partner organisations to co-ordinate a response to the worst floods in years to hit a large swathe of northern India, Bangladesh and Nepal.

Hundreds of thousands of people in the affected areas are facing hunger and disease, report local authorities, secular and faith-based NGOs and the United Nations.

Donations and offers from help from Britain and around the world are already pouring in. Action of Churches Together (the world-wide ecumenical network supported by Protestants and the Orthodox) and the Roman Catholic Caritas network will help coordinate the action of the global Christian community.

Rice paddies in the region affected by the floods in South Asia have been completely inundated and infrastructure damaged, meaning that help will be needed long after the flood water has subsided.

This emergency comes in the wake of the monsoon floods in India’s Andhra Pradesh state last month. As part of the Action by Churches Together response, Christian Aid committed £50,000 towards flood relief at that time. This included providing food relief and clothing.

Christian Aid points out that much of the work it supports in the region is designed to help people mitigate the effects of extreme weather. Community-based early warning systems can mean the difference between life and death, as people can move to higher ground in time.

More than 12 million have been left homeless in the states of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Assam in India. A further seven million have been displaced by the monsoons in Bangladesh. In Nepal, there have been 750,000 affected by torrential rains.

Christian Aid is supported by 41 denominational church bodies in Britain and Ireland. It is an official ecumenical agency and works with partners in Asia and elsewhere without regard to creed.

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