India monsoon causes worst flood in a century

Kerala, India

India’s Kerala state experienced its worst flood in a century after monsoon storms dumped more than a year’s worth of rain on the area in just a few short weeks. More than 400 were killed in the floods, and more than one million people fled to relief camps.

“Dams and water reservoirs became full,” said Abraham Daniel, a Church of the Nazarene pastor in Kerala. “On August 14, the government gave alerts, and in the night many places had landslides, earthquakes. [Kerala] was under water for [nearly] 10 days. People lost their clothes, documents, houses – all their possessions.”

In mid-August, a Nazarene leadership team visited five districts in Kerala to bring compassionate support. The group included Daniel, India Field Strategy Coordinator Sunil Dandge, and India Field Compassionate Ministries Coordinator Trisha Das. The team handed out clothes and food to 1,000 families. 

“We visit them every day to pray and comfort [them],” Daniel said. “Yesterday, I visited two villages that so far nobody had visited. Still, there are people nobody has reached. We need people who can contribute, money, clothes, utensils, mattresses, school bags, etc.”

Several Nazarene districts are sending financial support to the relief efforts in India.

“We know there are many non-government organizations and government agencies, but we, the Church of the Nazarene, have a great part here,” Daniel said. “People and the government have acknowledged our presence here.”

After the water subsided, Kerala began facing new problems.

The state is on high alert due to a leptospirosis outbreak — a bacterial disease also known as rat fever — and a severe drought

Local rivers, lakes, and wells that were affected by the floods are now drying out due to the damaged landscape.

Many plants and animals have been killed in the process, leaving local farmers concerned for the future.

The outbreak has taken the lives of 12 people so far, with more than 300 confirmed cases of the disease and more than 700 suspected cases. 

Kerala will remain on high alert for at least another week. Das is planning to conduct a second phase of relief and redevelopment work soon.

--Church of the Nazarene Eurasia

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