2009-10-10 13:25:43

Church to Work with State Government on Flood Rehabilitation

(October 10, 2009) The Catholic Church in Karnataka state is to cooperate with the southern Indian state’s pro-Hindu government to rehabilitate victims of recent floods. Five bishops from the state’s affected northern region met October 8 and resolved to “collaborate with the government” rather than work in isolation. The devastating floods in the first week of October killed more than 200 people and damaged properties worth 200 billion rupees (US$4.25 billion). Caritas India, the social action wing of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India, and its American counterpart Catholic Relief Services, are among scores of Christian agencies engaged in relief and rehabilitation work in the state. Bishop Peter Machado of Belgaum, who hosted the prelates’ meeting, said that they have decided to cater to only those who have registered their damages with the government. “It is both to avoid duplication and to enhance cooperation with the government,” the prelate explained. The Church has joined the state government’s efforts to raise funds for flood rehabilitation. Many dioceses and laypeople have donated to the state chief minister’s relief fund that has already collected more than 50 million rupees locally. [Belgaum district’s deputy commissioner, who attended the bishops’ meeting, asked the Church to cooperate with the administration. Officials of other districts have made similar appeals to other dioceses in the state, Bishop Machado said.] Meanwhile, Archbishop Bernard Moras of Bangalore, who heads the Church in the state, has appealed to Catholics to donate generously to help flood victims.

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