Floods Continue to Devastate South Asia, Relief Efforts Persist

As floods continue to devastate South Asia, relief agencies continue to provide comfort and supplies to affected childrens and families
( [email protected] ) Aug 05, 2004 08:00 PM EDT

Once again floods and landslides have caused devastation in South Asia, and the despair is predicted to continue in coming months. So far this year, more than 1,000 people have been killed and millions affected. The nation of Bangladesh has suffered the greatest devastation as it reels from its worst floods since 1988 when about 3,500 died. Meanwhile reports from serious floods in India, China, and Myanmar are also coming in.

While much of the world has focused on the devastation that running rampant in Bangladesh and India, in neighboring Myanmar, the National Christian Council in Myitkyina has reported that nearly 11,000 people from 2,000 families have been affected by the continuous heavy rain that has left major rivers flooded since mid-July in the city of Myitkyina alone.

World Vision (WV), which reaches out to children and families in nearly 100 countries, has reported that two WV Myanmar projects have been affected by the floods, and that efforts are being made to help the families affected. According to WV staff, around 3,000 families from the Pyi Gyi Ta Gun (PGTG) Area Development Program are affected, while around 200 houses are submerged to the rooftops. The houses, which are mostly huts, will be uninhabitable even when the water recedes.

On July 29, nearly 10,000 people from 1,905 families received a week’s worth of rice. The community and local authorities welcomed the assistance and helped in the distribution. The rice provided is valued at $3,900 (USD).

“The people are overjoyed to receive the rice, because it will cover their food for a week,” said Susanna Hla Hla Soe, a team leader. “But we need more funding for the coming week because although the rain and the tide have stopped for the moment, the water may stay for two weeks.”

Those affected have moved to higher ground, and are gathering in religious centers. Around five primary schools are currently closed.

World Vision Myanmar has received funding commitments totaling $20,000 but estimates that the amount needed may reach $50,000. World Vision will begin responding after more details on the damage and agricultural losses are received.

Meanwhile, in India, staff and volunteers from the Evangelical Fellowship of India Commission on Relief (EFICOR) reported on their continued relief operations in Bihar.

So far, 4000 people in Katra and Motipur blocks of Muzarffarpur district , 1900 in Khanpur and Hasanpur of Samastipur district , and 1000 in Gharpura and Kariama blocks of Begusarai district have so far received relief materials in 26 villages. 6900 persons have received dry rations -gram flour mixture, flattened rice and sugar.

The EFICOR reports that the major concern now is the spread of epidemics. With the absence of sanitation and health facilities and scarcity of safe drinking water, many are falling prey to diseases such as diarrhea, gastroenteritis, cholera and other infections. Doctors and medicines are the need of the hour.

Also the monsoon has set in and the flood situation does not seem to be getting any better. EFICOR reports the rains are slowing the relief work. “With the monsoon the flood prone districts may be flooded again,” EFICOR reported. “This will only multiply the miseries of the already devastated victims. “

Christians worldwide are being asked to pray the flood victims and make contributions to the current relief efforts.