'Worst floods we've seen in South Asia in decades'
International development charities Tearfund and Christian are among those working to help people affected by floods in Nepal, India and Bangladesh, while The Baptist World Alliance has also given an update
According to the United Nations, 41 million people have been affected by floods in the region, which have been triggered by heavy monsoon rains.
In a briefing document on its website, Tearfund said it is working with partners to reach those affected by the flooding.
Our partners have been working day and night to help people reach safety and gather at evacuation points. Through our partners, we are distributing dry food and nutritional supplements for children. We are also supplying safe drinking water, hygiene kits and are running emergency medical camps.
Tearfund church partners have been gathering up essential items to provide for those who have lost everything. We are distributing tents, clothes, blankets, sleeping mats, mosquito nets and cooking utensils.
The document offered a number of prayer points, as well as ways people can take action: while it can't be proved that this specific flooding has been caused by climate change, the briefing document stated 'there is a clear relationship between climate change and severe, erratic weather patterns like the ones we are seeing here and in Texas at present.'
In order to make a significant difference to nations like Bangladesh, governments need to take urgent action in order to limit the total global rise to 1.5°C. The Paris Climate Agreement seeks to limit the rise in global temperatures to well below 2°C. It urged supporters to 'call for justice in a changing climate.'
To give to Tearfund's disasters' work, visit: https://www.tearfund.org/give/when_disaster_strikes/
On Thursday Christian Aid released a statement to report it is bringing emergency relief to families in India, Nepal and Bangladesh as more than a thousand people have been killed and 40 million more affected by floods.
The charity has deployed £45,000 of emergency funds and is also using a further £200,000 from Irish Aid and the DFID-backed START fund to provide 4000 households with hygiene kits, tarpaulin, shelter materials and community water filters to provide safe drinking water. Elsewhere 20,000 families are being taught about good hygiene practices to protect themselves from diseases.
Christian Aid’s Head of Humanitarian Programmes for Asia & Middle East, Madara Hettiarachchi, said she hoped people wouldn’t forget people in South Asia whilst floods in Texas were dominating the news agenda.
'These are some of the worst floods we’ve seen in South Asia in decades and the impact is likely only going to get worse,' she said. 'Farms and livestock have been washed away so food security is going to be a huge problem in the coming days and we will likely see the death toll rise.
'The good news is we are reaching people and bringing them the vital help they need to stay alive and begin to rebuild their lives.
'We’ve all seen the terrible impact floodwater is having in Texas and that is in a country with 'first-world' infrastructure. The people in South Asia are much less equipped to cope with such a deluge of floodwater which is why they are in such a precarious position.'
She added that scientists are increasingly confident of the links between such events and climate change. She said, 'Research by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology suggests that the most extreme rain events in most regions of the world will increase in intensity by 3-15 per cent, and some places - such as parts of the Asian monsoon region - would experience greater increases.
'It is a reminder that we must respond to the immediate humanitarian needs in South Asia while at the same time decarbonising the global economy in order to reduce the likelihood of such events from happening again. Until we start to address the underlying causes of climate breakdown we will continue to see more human suffering on a massive scale.'
The Baptist World Alliance
The BWA has been in contact with the Nepal Baptist Church Council (NBCC). Hundreds of Baptists are among those affected, it stated:
Beginning on August 10, the South Asian country of Nepal has been affected by devastating floods, compounding earlier flood rains in the month of June.
Twenty-nine of the 75 districts in the Himalayan country were inundated by torrential rain. About 150 people have been killed and 90,000 homes destroyed in what the United Nations called the worst flooding in Nepal in a decade.
Approximately 500 Baptists were among those affected.
At least five of the 16 churches known to have been damaged or destroyed were Baptist churches. "Many churches could not organize regular worship," the Nepal Baptist Church Council (NBCC) told the Baptist World Alliance.
"The Nepal Baptist Church family is praying and contacting our people and organizations," NBBC stated. "We are also collecting food, clothes and funds among our churches and individuals. Please be with us in prayer."
Indications are that the heavy flood rains in Nepal are part of a broader monsoon system that has affected parts of India and Bangladesh, where more than 1,200 people in the three countries have died. Thousands of villages were cut off and people were deprived of food and clean water for days.
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Baptist World Aid
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