CATEGORY 5 STRENGTH AIMED AT AREAS ALREADY SUFFERING FROM RECENT FLOODING; PRAYERS REQUESTED FOR GOD'S INTERVENTION TO WEAKEN STORM
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Taun Cortado at 972-300-3379 or firstname.lastname@example.org
CARROLLTON, Texas – As relief workers are preparing and residents fleeing with what they can carry, Gospel for Asia is calling for a worldwide prayer effort in anticipation of a major cyclone headed toward India’s East Coast. The storm is predicted to be more destructive than Hurricane Katrina.
Cyclone Phailin is expected to make landfall as a category 5 storm Saturday afternoon India time, affecting the Indian states of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha, both of which have recently been hit with significant flooding. Gospel for Asia compassionate ministry teams currently are assembling for relief efforts, while praying that God will intervene to lessen the storm’s expected effect.
“We have no way to grasp fully all this will mean for the people in these areas and how long it will take to get aid to those in the most remote locations,” said K. P. Yohannan, Gospel for Asia (GFA) founder and president. “We have 200 churches located in this area. Please pray for the Lord’s mercy and for our workers getting ready right now to respond to this impending crisis.”
The storm is a “likely disaster for India” with “catastrophic storm surge a certainty,” according to the Washington Post. Currently gaining strength in the Bay of Bengal off India’s east coast, Cyclone Phailin contains sustained winds of 220 kph. Although it is expected to weaken some, perhaps before landfall or as it moves inland, gale-force winds and storm surges of up to 10 feet are expected.
The estimated landfall zone is densely populated, with the lives and livelihoods of millions in peril. Many in this area live in “kutcha” houses made of mud and bamboo that cannot withstand impact. The India Meteorological Department has urged evacuations. Fishing has been suspended in the bay, and people are fleeing for higher ground in anticipation of unsurvivable storm surge.
The almost certain aftermath of such surges will include power and communication outages and danger of flying debris, as well as potential loss of life, livelihood, personal property and resulting disease from flooding.
GFA has trained disaster relief teams on location, who are currently assembling supplies for those sure to be affected by the storm. Fallen trees and power outages are expected to isolate areas for weeks, with some areas to remain uninhabitable for weeks or even months to come.
GFA disaster relief teams have regularly responded to storms, flooding and the tsunami throughout South Asia. They have recently provided flooding relief to the states of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha, the areas currently targeted by Cyclone Phailin.
Prayer is especially solicited now that God will intervene, causing the storm to subside, lives to be spared and damage to be less than expected.
Authorities expect that massive amounts of supplies will be needed for life’s most basic needs: clean water, food and shelter. A family food packet of rice, salt, oil, potatoes and matchsticks can be assembled for about $14.
To donate to the ongoing relief efforts of Cyclone Phailin and read the lastest updates, visit http://bit.ly/15BMS7P.
“We will keep you apprised as more information comes in,” said Yohannan. “Let us unite our hearts and cry out to the Lord for his mercy.”
Gospel for Asia (www.gfa.org) is a mission organization based in Carrollton, Texas, involved in sharing the love of Jesus across South Asia.