World Vision India Responds to Monsoon Disaster

( [email protected] ) Jun 26, 2007 09:51 AM EDT

World Vision India field staff are responding to floods and heavy rainfall during monsoon season, which have claimed the lives of 57 people and forced another 100,000 from their homes in south and southwest India.

The annual monsoon set over southern India earlier this month and more rain is expected in the region.

Three days of heavy rains and flash floods have brought devastation to the lives of further millions in the state of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharasthra, as reports also indicate some deaths were caused by lightning strikes.

The charity staff have now completed their relief assessments in areas badly hit by the storms and will continue to monitor other disaster prone areas, World Vision reports.

One completed assessment includes the World Vision programme area of Premamaya, funded by World Vision Canada. Here six villages in the Tangatur area have been severely affected by the excess rainwater. A relief programme is being developed to address the immediate needs and provide vital assistance to communities.

"We are in touch with our Area Development Programmes (ADPs) in all the three flood affected states and they have been asked to stay alert to the situation," said Franklin Joseph, Director of ERDM.

In the worst hit state of Andhra Pradesh, the government has set up 95 relief camps alone. The local administration, police and army continue their rescue operations in the flood-affected areas.

Most of the deaths took place in the south-western district of Kurnool. In Kurnool, the Kundu River broke its banks and marooned Nandyal, a town of approximately 150,000 people.

In Gulbagra World Vision Area Development programme, 47 sponsored children have been affected by floodwaters. World Vision conducted relief distributions immediately including providing cooked food to the affected families and also exercise books to 243 children. However the rising waters had entered the dwelling sheds of 30 families damaging their food grains, clothes and books.

In Premamya World Vision ADP, 105 sponsored children in Karumanchi and Thurupu Naidupalem village have been affected by the flash floods caused by the cyclonic storm damaging 20 houses.

"Thankfully all these children are now safe along with their families," said Prasad Talluri Programme Manager. The project confirms that the situation is improving and under control.

However in Ukumnal, Uthnal and Hegdiyal villages 100 homes were reported to have collapsed and as a result many families have been temporarily housed in government school buildings which are being used as relief camps. World Vision staff members have been asked to monitor the situation, while working alongside the government.

In many villages, the water level has now started to recede, making it possible to walk the streets again.

"We continue to follow the situation closely and try to ensure that people only benefit from the rains that the monsoon brings, rather than the devastation," said Bob Jacob, Associate Director of Hyderabad Monitoring Office.

Flooding has also disrupted road, rail and air traffic, and caused power and communication failures, according to Government officials in Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra.

In Maharashtra, 15 people died as houses collapsed from the heavy downpours and lightning strikes. Another 10 deaths were reported from coastal Kerala state.