Kerala floods: nine months on
Last August brought one of the strongest ever monsoons to Kerala in South India which left a trail of devastation caused by the resulting floods. Over four hundred people died and thousands more were left homeless. Jesuit Missions responded immediately and has been supporting the local Jesuits throughout this year.
Nine months following the disaster, The Kerala Jesuit Society have helped many people to rebuild their houses including Mini, a woman from Kalady, Ernakulam district and Lisamma Ouseph from Edatha, Alappuza district. Mini is a manual labourer with two children in school. Her house was only part constructed when the monsoon hit, and the unfinished house and all her possessions were lost in the flooding. She says,
“The financial support of the Jesuits has helped me to rebuild my house, I am so grateful for their support.”
The local Jesuits have also been training local community leaders to form disaster response teams. They will have access to local weather information and have a communication system in place ready to take action should severe flooding happen again during future monsoon seasons.
Shannon Philip, International Programmes Officer at Jesuit Missions, says,
“It is so important that we try to prevent future disasters from being so devastating. Monsoons are predicted to continue bringing strong winds and heavy rains in the years to come, so by having a locally trained emergency disaster team it ensures communities are better prepared to take action immediately.”
Many people not only lost family members or their houses but also lost animals, which for many was their livelihoods. Jessy Varghese, from Wayanard district in the north of Kerala lost of her goats in the floods. Through the support of Jesuit Missions, the local Jesuits were able to support her with two new goats. Kamala Mani, also from Wayanard district, lost her cow in the floods. Now with her new cow, she has been able to go back to earning her livelihood from the milk which it produces.