Friday, July 19, 2013

Days of "incessant rains" hit Andhra Pradesh

Fr. Varghese sent this photo of the Godavari in flood
last September, when the worst floods in 20 years
hit his area.

Fr. Varghese raced to his village of Yerravaram two nights ago, when he learned a boy went missing in flood waters. Father reported the lost child to police and rescuers in lifeboats located the boy, clinging for dear life to a tree. Returning home at 2 AM, Fr. Varghese returned next day, and then today, to assess the situation in the village, as the Times of India reported that the government was preparing to evacuate residents along the Godavari River.

The Gulf News site reported that flood gates were being opened across the region after "five days of incessant rains," and that a "large number" of villages "were cut off due to the floods."

"Please tell all our friends to pray for our mission," Fr. wrote, when a spotty internet connection was restored late last night. "Because of heavy rain," he reported, "phone and internet is out of service."

He is praying flood damage will be limited, unlike last year, when Holy Family Mission fed and sheltered 150 villagers for many weeks, when floods destroyed their homes. 

A reader on the Times of India site wrote about the relief first felt when deadly temperatures up to 117-degrees F. were broken by rainy weather: "All of us were quite happy on the onset of monsoon. Now the calamity of floods threatening us. How to combat with the Nature's fury. Only God should help us. There are many villages, towns, cities on the banks of River Godavari and poor section live in hutments on the banks of the river. God help them."

Up to 150 displaced flood victims sought refuge at Holy
Family Mission last year, sleeping on the floor of the church
for many weeks. Providing meals and relief aid put severe
financial strain on an already struggling mission, where Sunday 

collections average just $100 a week.

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