2009-10-06 16:04:28

Catholic churches, schools shelter displaced residents from Karnataka floods

(Oct.06,2009): At least 18 million residents of the southern Indian Karnataka State suffered damages to their homes and other property losses, as a result of torrential rains that have fallen in recent days in the northern parts of the state and in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh. One of the hardest hit districts is that of Bellary. The city’s Bishop Henry D’Souza, is personally directing the relief effort to help residents. “I asked all our institutions to use churches and schools to house the displaced, provide them with food, medicines and emergency medical care,” he told AsiaNews. “In some areas we have opened shelters and I have asked our charities to do everything they can to bring relief.”
Meanwhile Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa said “Agricultural crops in 12 northern districts are completely destroyed. The road network and power installations are also badly damaged and reconstruction operations need to be taken up on a massive scale considering the magnitude of the tragedy.” Early estimates by State authorities put the death toll at more than 150 and 100,000 houses destroyed.
Bishop D’Souza visited the diocese to determine the situation in person. “People are suffering immensely,” he said, “and the Church in Bellary is doing all it can. We have set up a crisis unit to coordinate rescue work and are doing our utmost to help everybody, irrespective of religion or caste. But the poor are the hardest hit,” the bishop of Bellary said.

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