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Published on 4 January 2018

Christian Aid responded with life-saving assistance for around 20,000 people who have lost their homes.

The appeal will help the charity target some of the southern Indian state’s poorest and most vulnerable villages. Households will receive assistance with safe drinking water, sanitation supplies, hygiene essentials such as soap, and shelter materials including tarpaulin, rope and blankets.

The aid will help people survive the shocking devastation that has claimed the lives of some 350 people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee their homes.

Ram Kishan, Christian Aid’s Regional Emergency Manager, said: “What I have seen and been hearing here is on a scale not seen for a hundred years. Christian Aid’s appeal for support is needed to help us provide clean water, shelter and emergency food supplies and more important livelihood support for people who have been forced to flee their homes.”

Christian Aid’s Emergency Programme Officer Shivani Rana, who is in Kerala, said for people that have lost everything it will be a tough task rebuilding their livelihoods: “Many people are currently sheltering in camps and one major worry is how they’re going to recover their lives when they try to go home. For some families, everything they had has been washed away or ruined.”

She added: “The rains have caused flooding and also landslides – and we still don’t know how bad the damage is because many areas remain impossible to reach.”

The charity has released funds and hopes to scale up its emergency response, working through its local partners in the region.

So far, Christian Aid plans to focus its response on the hard-hit Wayanad district in the north of Kerala and Idukki district in the centre of the state. It will support 10,000 people in each of the two districts, targeting areas where many people are considered to be Dalits and ‘Tribals’ – among the most deprived and excluded in society. 

Over the weekend, Christian Aid and its local partner organisations – including IGSSS (Indo-Global Social Service Society) and CASA (Church’s Auxiliary for Social Action) – responded immediately, buying relief materials and hiring people to deliver these emergency supplies to deluged communities.