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"We ask for prayers and solidarity of all kinds," bishop of Belgaum
Saturday, August 10, 2019, 0:19 (IST)
Heavy downpour caused major flood and took away many lives in western India. Twenty-two people in Kerala and almost 20 people in Maharashtra and neighboring Karnataka were killed in the last three days.
More than 120,000 people were evacuated by rescue operators and heavy rain is expected for the next 24 hours.
Catholics are at the forefront of saving lives and providing immediate relief to the affected people.
Bishop of Belgaum, Mgr Derek Fernandes, who is also the apostolic administrator of Karwar, said, "At present, villages have been isolated. Catholic social services in Karwar have rushed emergency measures to provide relief and assistance."
"It took me 32 hours to reach Karwar from Belgaum. Usually, it takes only three and a half hours. The situation is very bad. The suffering of the people is tremendous. We are supplying food to about 2,000 people. Our medical teams are in the field with their ambulances," Mgr Fernandes explained.
"The poorest people are the most affected. They have lost everything. The little they had was washed away by the floods: houses, livestock, crops; all their possessions have gone. We ask for prayers and solidarity of all kinds," he added.
Archbishop of Bangalore, Mgr Peter Machado shared that the churches are collecting funds for relief and rehabilitation of the area. "The Catholic Church in Karnataka is very worried; we are coordinating aid for the people affected by the floods," he said.
Archbishop of Mumbai, Card Oswald Gracias expressed his heartfelt solidarity for all those affected by the flood. He promised to contact Caritas India to organise relief and emergency rescue, and also send teams of medical personnel.
Card Gracias is currently in Bangalore and will meet all the bishops of Karnataka to coordinate relief and rehabilitation for victims and survivors. Collections during Masses will go to flood relief.
"I invoke God's consolation and strength for those affected by these floods," Card Gracias said.