Massive flooding is affecting Bangladesh, Nepal and north-eastern India after abnormally early and heavy monsoon rains. At least 583 people have been killed and up to 20 million affected
, many of them stranded without food and clean water. There are fears of an impending health crisis. Amongst the victims are Christian minorities, whom Barnabas Fund is seeking to help.
Bangladesh is home to nearly a million Christians (about 1% of the population), while there are also Christian minorities in the north-eastern states of India such as Arunachal Pradesh and Assam. The number of Christians in Nepal probably lies between 1% and 2%. Many thousands of Christians are among those affected by the floods. Some have been forced to leave their homes and live in makeshift shelters. Others face damage to homes and crops, loss of possessions or loss of their means of livelihood.
Barnabas Fund is working with our partners in Bangladesh to meet the needs of Christians in flood affected areas. Aid via local partners is often the fastest and most effective method of help. Local Christian groups on the ground are already in place and have the infrastructure to assist brothers and sisters in need.
We have already received requests to help more than 18,000 Christians in flooded parts of Bangladesh. The need is for rice (both pre-cooked and raw), pulses, salt, sugar, water, cooking oil, oral re-hydration, medication, candles and matches. To provide immediate aid, the cost per family is estimated at £8 (US$16; NZ$21; A$19; €12). The needs in India and Nepal will be similar.
Later, when the waters have subsided, there will be funds needed for the repair of homes and the restoration of means of income-generation, in particular agriculture and fishing.
Dr Patrick Sookhdeo, International Director of Barnabas Fund, comments:
"We need to be concerned for our Christian brothers and sisters at this time. Natural disasters can hit Christian minorities particularly hard in countries like these, where they face discrimination as a normal part of everyday life. Relief and aid are often distributed by local authorities who may deliberately omit Christians or simply overlook the existence of marginalised communities. Christians are frequently at the end of the queue when aid is given out."
Please help us to assist our brothers and sisters affected by the floods across the region.
If you can help, please click this [Link] to donate online using our secure server. (Please quote project reference 04-707)
If you prefer to telephone, dial: 08... from within the UK or +44 1672 565031 from outside the UK. (Please quote project reference 04-707)
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