.- Over 2.5 million people have been forced from their homes by heavy rains and flooding in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh in South India. Caritas India says it fears the worst is still to come, with more rains in the forecast threatening to overflow river banks and dams.
With the Krishna River inundated, over 50 villages have been completely submerged or marooned in Andhra Pradesh. The famous temple town of Mantralayam has been under ten feet of water for more than a day, Caritas Internationalis reports.
Rescue operations are difficult because some towns are completely inaccessible.
Ambrose Christy, South Zonal Manager for Caritas India, said they have never experienced anything like the disaster before.
“It is the worst flooding in 100 years,” he reported. “The situation could become even more severe as the rains get worst. If the Krishna River bursts its banks, millions more will be forced from their homes and a huge area of land will be underwater.”
Christy stated that Caritas is able to provide immediate relief to those who have been forced from their homes. At present relief is focused on providing food, medical supplies, drinking water and safety.
“It’s too early to make assessments of damage to homes and livelihoods.”
With the involvement of Caritas, some affected villages have been involved in disaster preparedness. These communities’ teams were effective in quickly moving the vulnerable to safety.
“Caritas local partners immediately began providing hot meals to people who had lost their homes,” Christy added.
Caritas diocesan partners in Kurnool district distributed food packets and water for 1,000 people on Sunday. They are planning to set up relief camps.
Caritas partners in Krishna and Guntur districts plan to distribute rice and oil in remote areas.
Relief operations have been started in Karnatka state by the Bellary Diocese Development Society and Seva Sangama Development Society of Gulbarga Diocese. Caritas is supporting their effort.