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Christians on Rescue Mission as Floods Claim 23 Lives in NE India

Monday, June 25, 2018, 22:03 (IST)

The churches in India have stepped forward to provide aid to thousands of people in northeast regions of the country after floods and landslides claimed at least 23 lives by mid June.

Assam, Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura are the most affected states where the monsoon rains flooded homes and farmland in low-lying areas. Landslides have cut off roads in hilly regions while rivers are rising to higher levels, leaving hundreds of villages stranded.

In the four states, close to 500,000 people are living in about 500 relief camps. At least 700 villages are under water.

"The situation is very grim because we are not able to reach affected areas due to landslides," said Father Lawrence Kennedy, director of the social service center in Aizawl Diocese in Mizoram.

As most of the roads are in bad shape and vehicles are not allowed, church officials and volunteers are trying to reach villages on foot to provide medical help and paramilitary forces work to rescue stranded people, Kennedy told ucanews.com.

Priyanka Samantha Pinto, disaster risk reduction officer at Caritas India, a charity organization that comes under the umbrella of the Catholic Church, said the water, sanitation and hygiene facilities have been hit the most as wells and streams are inundated.

Water sources have been contaminated and safe drinking water is difficult to access.

"The health of affected communities is under serious threat as there have already been some reported cases of diarrhea, fever and skin infections due to the floods," said Pinto.

Caritas is also providing food, clothing, utensils, drinking water and sanitary items.

In Manipur, Christian volunteers are taking care of affected people.

Archbishop Dominic Lumon of Imphal said the situation is under control.

"Since parishes are capable of handling the situation, we at the diocesan level are not involved in the process, but we are ready to help," he said.