Vatican City, 5 July 2005 - Caritas
Internationalis is keeping a close eye on the situation in several Indian
states as unrelenting monsoon rains have unleashed flash floods and mudslides
in the last few days, killing more than 140 people, leaving thousands homeless,
and severely damaging infrastructure. According to Caritas India, of the
seven states affected by heavy rains, the western state of Gujarat is one
of the hardest hit, with floodwaters covering nearly 70% of the state and
at least 124 people reported dead. Many roads and bridges have been left
impassable, access to the national highway cut off, and train travel halted,
with tracks submerged under water.
The government has declared a state of high alert and started evacuating people to safer ground. The army and air force have been called in to contribute to rescue and relief operations, and food packages have been dropped to many victims left completely stranded by the flooding.
Caritas India has been in contact with all the Diocesan Social Service Societies in the affected areas, and with Catholic Relief Services (CRS) - Ahmedabad. Together they have contacted the Government Relief Commissioner to express their intention to assist with relief efforts. According to Caritas India, immediate needs include the setting up of relief camps, distribution of food, clean drinking water, and kitchen utensils, medical care, and temporary shelter for thousands of flood victims. Caritas India continues to monitor the situation closely and will keep the Confederation apprised of any new developments and needs in the coming days.
Caritas Internationalis is a confederation of 162 Catholic relief, development, and social service organisations present in 200 countries and territories.