Assam Rains Continue After Three Months
September 29, 2012
Three months after the Brahmaputra River overflowed and flooded more than 2 million people's homes, heavy monsoon rains continue to devastate the Indian state of Assam.
On September 24, a Gospel for Asia field correspondent reported that two weeks of nonstop rain has caused flooding in 14 of the state's 27 districts, affecting 870 villages and claiming 11 lives.
Bible college students were called home by their parents and wives to help save livestock from being washed away. In one group of six villages, about 70 believing families lost their homes, and victims across Assam are fleeing to schools, hospitals and relatives' homes for shelter.
Meanwhile, pastors are facing difficulties in providing physical and spiritual aid. More than 76 churches are flooded, and in one district, a national highway bridge was washed away, severely restricting travel. While prices rise for vegetables and other commodities produced outside the district, local pastors are hard-pressed even to reach their congregations.
Please pray for:
- The rain to stop immediately and for floodwaters to recede so families and churches can rebuild.
- Pastors to be able to reach their congregations safely and effectively.
- Safety for all villagers in the affected areas.
Stranded Flood Victims Wait for Relief
July 27, 2012
Annual Monsoon Brings Unpredictable Devastation
"We don't have anything to eat or drink," she told Al Jazeera News.
"I need medicine desperately, but there aren't any clinics here since everything was washed away."
Assam Flood Update
July 10, 2012
Relief for Assam Flooding Survivors
July 06, 2012
On June 30, Gospel for Asia Compassion Services teams distributed aid for 201 families affected by the Assam floods.
In this area of Assam, 50,000 people suffered loss after the Brahmaputra River surged past its embankments. Most of the Christians there, including missionaries, lost their livestock, and some lost their homes. The believers were forced to evacuate to find higher ground to save their lives.
During the distribution of relief materials, GFA provided these survivors with food packets including rice, dal, vegetables and salt to cook their basic traditional meals. The recipients were so grateful for this provision, and several shared their experiences.
"The flood washed away my house," said Ratnakar, who has a wife and nine children. "Somehow, we escaped from the flood and took shelter in another village which was not affected.
"We are going through hard times, and today God has blessed us with the things we need for survival. I am very much thankful to God and also to the leaders for having concern for us."
Pastor Darpan was serving the Lord in a village that is now underwater.
"Our house was hit by a strong current and collapsed in minutes, but God saved our lives—praise to His name!" the pastor said.
Another Christian named Lochan describes his family's narrow escape from the floodwaters.
"We never expected the flood to reach us because in previous years it did not take place in our village. Then early in the morning we heard the sound of water coming speedily towards us.
"We were confused what to do. I called out my wife and six children and we ran for our lives, leaving behind everything. The flood took our house away, while we watched from a far distance. We had nothing to eat, and today I feel very blessed for getting the things to eat for my whole family."
Other families described swimming away from their homes as the waters rose, realizing their homes would not survive the flood even though they were constructed on tall poles to withstand the usual monsoon rains. They watched as their cows and goats washed away.
The believers praise God for saving their lives, and they each expressed gratitude for the gift of food to help them make it through this challenging time.
The Compassion Services teams are planning another aid distribution, hoping to provide food for an additional 450 families in need.
Please pray for:
- Safety for the relief teams as they travel wherever they're able to bring aid.
- God's protection and provision for the families who lost everything in the flood.
- The river embankment to be restored and floodwaters to recede so people can go home soon and rebuild.
Assam Desperate as Floodwaters Continue to Rise
June 29, 2012
As monsoon rains show no signs of letting up in northeastern India, residents are facing the grim reality of property loss, starvation and possible death.
Hundreds have already perished in the devastation, and according to Assam Agriculture Minister Nilamoni Sen Deka, 900,000 people have been affected.
Floodwaters have now hit 58 Gospel for Asia-supported churches and six Bridge of Hope centers, potentially leaving more than 1,000 believers without a church and 716 children without education.
Thousands of helpless people have been forced to evacuate their homes and are stranded without food or drinking water. Floods have covered roads and destroyed lines of communication.
After three days of flash floods, one of our pastors in the area called in to say that he and the believers in his church are tired, wet and weak. Many of the people of Assam are suffering from fevers, colds and coughs due to the onset of the monsoon season.
"There is much to be done," says GFA President K.P. Yohannan, "both now and in the months to come." Gospel for Asia Compassion Services teams have already begun emergency relief work, but they are hindered by high waters and washed-out roads. The teams hope to start long-term relief efforts as soon as possible.
"Please pray with us for our missionaries who are ministering during these difficult days," Yohannan continues. "Thank you for caring for the suffering and helpless."
River Breach Floods 80 Villages
June 27, 2012The Christians in these villages all suffered loss and are currently without food.
On the evening of June 24, the Brahmaputra River flowed within its banks, carrying its hundreds of thousands of gallons of water south through the Indian state of Assam to the Bay of Bengal. But by the next morning, huge surges of floodwater were engulfing village after village in the nearby plain. The river's embankment had given way during the night and water from the mighty river, six miles wide in some places, rushed out to consume the homes, land and livestock in its way.
In less than two days, 80 villages were underwater. Residents were evacuated but lost their food and belongings. So far, no deaths have been reported.
Gospel for Asia-supported missionaries work in several of these flooded villages. They report that at least 12 church buildings are underwater. And a GFA Bridge of Hope center, where 112 children attended, is completely submerged.
"Now only the roof of the building is visible," reports GFA's field correspondent.
And the water is still rising. Missionary leaders have attempted to visit the region to completely assess the damage, but were hindered by the high water.
"Communication is totally cut off," the correspondent adds.
The Christians in these villages all suffered loss and are currently without food.
"Please pray for our brothers and sisters in Assam," asks Gospel for Asia President K.P. Yohannan, "that the Lord will comfort those who lost everything, that He will protect the lives of everyone in the flood plain, and that those displaced will receive adequate food and drinking water in the aftermath of this flood.
"Pray also for those who do not yet know of the love of God for them, that in the midst of this tragedy they will experience His care in a very personal way."
PHOTO UPDATESclick for larger image
Severely flooded churches are leaving long-established fellowships with nowhere to meet.click for larger image
Saving as many belongings as they can, thousands of flood victims are searching for safe places to stay until the waters recede.click for larger image
Floodwaters have risen to the rooftops in this village and many others.click for larger image
The people of Assam are scrambling to stay above water, many taking shelter on raised platforms and in tarpaulin tents. One of our film teams reported that they are stranded in a believer's house, struggling to keep the equipment dry.click for larger image
The strong current of floodwaters that breached the Brahmaputra River Monday are preventing these men from crossing and have stranded some of our missionaries as well.