SOUTH ASIA (BP) — Floodwaters sweeping across northern India and Pakistan have killed more than 450 people. Hundreds of thousands more have fled their homes as helicopters and boats raced to save marooned victims in one of the worst floods to hit this area in 60 years.
Authorities used Wednesday’s daylight hours with no rain to pick up their rescue efforts and get more people to safety. Thousands waded through waist-deep water with possessions bundled on their heads, creating makeshift camps when they reached dry ground. Hundreds of others remain stranded on rooftops, waving for help to passing helicopters.
Forecasts called for rain to start again Wednesday evening (Sept. 10) and fall through Sunday. Pakistani officials warned the situation might only get worse.
Darren Cantwell,* IMB’s South Asia affinity leader, asked Southern Baptists to pray as IMB makes plans to offer help to those displaced. More than 1.5 million have been affected by the flooding that crosses two countries in the northern Himalayas. More than 700,000 people have been told to leave their homes, with even more expected to evacuate during the next three days.
“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.”
The flash floods, which began Sept. 3, triggered landslides and washed away houses, bridges, communication equipment and crops. Getting basic relief supplies to those in need has proven to be a monumental task.
Bridges have been destroyed, and piles of debris mark where roads once stood. No supplies are reaching the markets and communities in the mountains unless they are flown or hiked into the area.
With the relief efforts still in the early stages, the International Mission Board hopes to find a way to be of long-term service to the affected area. Local officials estimate it could take years to recover from this flood. Royce Allard,* an IMB worker based in South Asia, said efforts will concentrate on finding a “niche of service and assistance” that isn’t being met by other organizations.
“As believers, we wish to share Christ’s compassion with those we meet in both word and deed,” Allard said. “Pray for God’s mercy on those impacted.”
Join Cantwell and Allard in praying for those affected by the northern India and Pakistani flood:
1. Pray for men and women to turn to the Lord during this time of suffering and sorrow. Ask for hearts to be tender to His love and kindness.
2. Pray for those who are going to do initial assessments to be wise, compassionate and courageous.
3. Pray for protection against disease and illness. Pray food, water and housing will be found for those in need.
*Name changed. Susie Rain is an IMB writer/editor living in Asia. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress) and in your email (baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).