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Southern Baptists help reaching victims of India earthquake

BHUJ, India (BP)–Southern Baptists will share God’s love with people in western India whose lives have been in turmoil since a Jan. 26 earthquake shook Gujarat state.

International aid agencies and the Indian government have undertaken the mammoth task of bringing food, shelter and clean drinking water to more than 1 million people left homeless by the quake, which has left a death toll of 30,000 people to date.

Southern Baptists will provide blankets, food and medical help to people in several areas of Gujarat, an arid region near the Pakistani border, said Jim Brown, human needs consultant for the International Mission Board. Volunteers also may be needed to help with clean up and rebuilding chores.

The board already has released a total of $70,000 in Southern Baptist relief funds to help purchase blankets, tents and food, Brown said. More funds will be needed as specific relief projects get underway.

Indian government officials said the region faces a severe shortage of tents to house the quake victims, who are facing chilly nighttime temperatures. The Red Cross says unclean water is one of the biggest risks facing survivors. With homes, businesses and livestock destroyed, it will take many months for people to rebuild their lives.

While Gujarat’s Hindu and Muslim people need Southern Baptists to give their money and time in relief efforts, they need their prayers more, said one Southern Baptist worker.

“Pray for the people of Gujarat State whose lives continue to shake in the emotional and physical aftershocks,” the worker said. “Pray that they will receive the food, shelter and medical care they need and that they will experience God’s comfort in the midst of their grief and fear.”

Contributions toward the relief efforts can be sent to: International Mission Board, General Relief Fund – India Earthquake, P.O. Box 6767, Richmond, VA 23230.

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  • Mark Kelly