India, Pakistan Flooding: Relief Workers Fear Cholera Outbreak Due to Flash Floods, Urge Prayer

( [email protected] ) Sep 11, 2014 07:54 PM EDT
Flooding in India, Pakistan
People gather to watch an overflowing river after a flash flood in Uttarkashi district, India, on Saturday. (AP)

Relief workers fear an outbreak of diseases such as cholera is imminent in India and Pakistan as millions of people are left displaced and without clean water after flash floods devastated the area.

"We must hope and pray that the rains aren't too heavy, but the reality is that this is the beginning of the monsoon season, so we're likely to see more flooding," said Tearfund's head of Asia region, Sudarshan Sathianathan.

"At the moment, here in the UK the media is focused on the Middle East, Africa and the Scottish referendum, so it's unlikely that the flooding in Asia will reach people's attention. But it's very important to pray that the needs of these people will be addressed locally, and that local governments will use the resources they have to reach out to the people in greatest need," he continued.

The flash floods, which began on September 3, have killed over 600 people and triggered landslides, putting at least half a million people in immediate danger. Thousands of buildings have been destroyed as well, including historic buildings and homes.

"This is a sad moment for all of us," Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said, addressing flood victims in the country's Hafiz district. "These floods came suddenly and no one knew that such a large flood was coming."

Pakistani and Indian troops have reportedly evacuated hundreds of victims and made food drops, but according to BBC, "a surge of water flowing from across the border in India" may cause further problems.

According to the Associated Press, water levels rose up to 18 feet at some points of the Jhelum River in the Kashmir region. A spokesperson for the Pakistani National Disaster Management Authority said more than 190 people have been killed in Punjab province and the Pakistani-administered part of Kashmir.

"In Kashmir, the area where the flooding has been the worst, over 600 people have died, both on the Indian and Pakistani sides,"

"We've heard [from partner organisations] that this number is likely to increase simply because some of the remote areas have not yet been visited, and only when we get there will we realise quite what the situation is."

Organizations such as the International Mission Board are urging Christians around the world to pray as relief organizations work to help those displaced and sick as a result of the floods.

"We are actively checking on new opportunities for relief efforts," Cantwell said. "Through our partners, we will be able to minister to those displaced and be the hands and feet of Christ's love to those hurting. When the waters recede, we'll help people with immediate needs such as housing, clean water and food," said IMB's Darren Cantwell.

"As believers, we wish to share Christ's compassion with those we meet in both word and deed," added relief worker Royce Allard.

"Pray for God's mercy on those impacted."