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India flood disaster prompts response

HYDERABAD, India (BP)–A vast multitude of poor villagers in southern India are trekking back to washed-out homes and ruined farmlands after the worst rains in 100 years set off devastating floods in early October.

Southern Baptist field partners are assessing needs and preparing an emergency response for some of the estimated 1.5 million people who are leaving relief camps to see what, if anything, is left of their homes, said Francis Horton, who with his wife Angie directs work in central and southern Asia for Baptist Global Response, an international relief and development organization.

“Local partners tell me conditions are very bad and it appears the principal needs right now are emergency food and water,” Horton said. “Please pray for the affected people in this area to get the relief they need. The state of Karnataka has been a focal point for persecution of Christians this past year.”

About 300 people are confirmed dead and thousands more are missing in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh states, according to news reports. The floods came just as many farmers had planted winter crops — much of which now has been washed away or damaged. To compound the problem, family food stores were destroyed with their homes, leaving many people with nothing to eat.

The area had been suffering from months of drought before the week of torrential downpours that caused the flooding.

“We’re able to respond quickly in emergencies like this because Southern Baptists have given so generously to their World Hunger Fund and disaster response. They are truly people who care about people in need,” said Jim Brown, BGR’s U.S. director. “With so many disasters in recent weeks, we hope they will make an extra effort to reach out to the millions of people in India, Indonesia and the Philippines who need to experience the compassion of Jesus Christ in their time of need.”

Updates on the relief effort will be available at gobgr.org, along with information on how to give to Southern Baptist disaster response and the World Hunger Fund.
Compiled by Baptist Press assistant editor Mark Kelly.

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