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Phase 2. Christians in Kerala’s floods need their brothers and sisters’ support to rebuild their lives

31 August 2018

“My house is destroyed. Where do I start?” John Joseph, a Christian rickshaw driver, is helpless to rebuild his life after the floods in Kerala. Flood victims, like John and his family, are longing to leave the emergency camps and return home. But those homes – and their contents – have been damaged or destroyed, leaving people with nothing but the clothes on their backs. Poor Christians have no insurance or savings and many lost their meagre incomes when life was turned upside down by the floods. In normal times, John would earn about $5 a day, but when roads are under water there is no work for rickshaw drivers.

As the waters subside in Kerala, the extent of the destruction is being revealed.  Many homes and other buildings have been completely destroyed

In the last three days, many roads have become passable, so needs are now clearer and aid can be more easily delivered to flood-affected areas. Praise God that the devastating floods which hit the South Indian state are receding. Will you enable Kerala Christians like John to restore their homes and re-start their lives?

Yes, we can get your gifts into India

The central Indian government has been turning away offers of aid from other governments, saying that India will handle this crisis on her own. But the authorities in Kerala say that they are not getting enough funds to respond to these catastrophic floods, the worst for almost a century.

Barnabas Fund is working through local churches in Kerala (not through political bodies), and we have no problem forwarding your gifts to where they are needed.

The official number of Christians in Kerala is about 18% but some Indian Christians believe the real figure could be nearer 30%.

A church in Kerala. Many have been flooded like this one

Christians despised and blamed

Christian fishermen were amongst those who used their small boats to rescue stranded people from the rising waters. Just like the fishermen of Jesus’ day, their job is lowly and despised. Worse still, they are considered “untouchable” by high caste Hindus, some of whom refused to let Christians rescue them. But others responded with deep gratitude. 

Stories are emerging that some Hindus say the floods are a divine punishment because Christians and Muslims have been eating cows, an animal considered sacred in Hinduism. Some have even called for Christian flood victims not to be given aid because they believe the flood is a curse sent by the gods.

The needs

A senior Indian church leader estimates that there are up to 200,000 Christians affected by the flood. Barnabas Fund’s church partners in Kerala are providing cleaning materials, disinfectant etc. to help Christians make their homes safe and habitable again. Meanwhile they continue to give food, medicines and other aid to those still in the camps. Other urgent needs are clothing, bedding and cooking utensils to replace what has been ruined or washed away.

Barnabas Fund has already sent funds for phase 1 - food and emergency needs. Thank you to all who donated. But now we need to help with phase 2 - rehabilitation costs. Please give what you can.

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