Gospel for Asia missionaries and Bridge of Hope staff provided food and emergency supplies to 90 families affected by flooding in West Bengal, India.

When Dristi, age 5, failed to show up at the Bridge of Hope center for several days, the center’s staff went to check on her. They were shocked at what they found. There was no sign at all of the family’s home. The whole area where the little girl’s house had once stood looked like a river.

Dristi’s family was just one of 90 Bridge of Hope families who lost their homes due to monsoon flooding in India’s West Bengal state this summer. Because the staff members at two Bridge of Hope centers had established relationships with the families, they were able to provide for their immediate needs resulting from the disaster. And, thanks to the generosity of Gospel for Asia supporters, these 90 families in West Bengal—and hundreds of others—received emergency food rations and household supplies.

The monsoon rains are an annual event in India. The weather pattern that creates the monsoon brings rain almost daily from June through September. Since the country relies heavily on agriculture, the annual rainy season is an integral part of the country’s economy. However, this year’s rains were much heavier and lasted longer than normal. Dristi’s family was shocked at the severity of this year’s flooding.

When floodwaters began to overtake their home, Dristi’s father, Durgesh, gathered up his wife, children and what little they could carry and took refuge on higher ground. They crouched under the veranda of a shop for three days. After two days with no food, Durgesh took his daughter back to the Bridge of Hope Center because he knew she would receive something to eat. The staff was glad to find out the family was safe. They provided them with emergency supplies and prayed for them.

Prayer is the cornerstone of everything that GFA missionaries do. Here, they ask God’s blessing over the emergency supplies they are about to distribute.

Amulya, whose son, Tanay, is also a student at this Bridge of Hope center, barely held back tears as he described his family’s situation.

Our last grain of rice was gone, and I was in a great dilemma. I didn’t know what to do,” Amulya explained. “I had no strength left in me to face the next day, and it was then that I saw two women from the Bridge of Hope center approaching our home through the water, which was slowly receding. My heart bubbled with joy to hear that they were going to help us!”

In another village in West Bengal, Bridge of Hope staffers also assisted families in need. Kanaka, whose daughter, Ela, is a student at the center, was one of those who received help. She was at the end of her rope when the Bridge of Hope staff brought her the supplies.

We had nothing to eat. We lost everything in the flood. My husband was sick for a week. My children were hungry and asking for food. I didn’t know how I would feed them. Thank you very much for supplying these things for me,” she said.

Janaki’s son, Panchali, is also a student at this Bridge of Hope center. She told the Bridge of Hope staff her own harrowing tale of escape.

Water was everywhere. There were no roads, no drinking water and no food. My husband tried to go out, but he fell into a deep pit and broke his leg. I knew my family would starve because he could not run his rickshaw until his leg got better,” Janaki said.

When the Bridge of Hope staff learned about the family’s dilemma, they immediately arranged for them to receive emergency supplies.

I was troubled, but you brought peace into my heart. You are doing a holy work,” Janaki told them.

Distribution of emergency flood relief supplies is simply the first step toward helping those affected by this summer’s monsoon flooding. As the water recedes, there are plans to help families rebuild homes lost in the natural disaster.

Read about another recent outreach to flood victims in Assam, India.

Read about some of the famous people and places in West Bengal, India.