2009-10-28 15:38:04

Church dumps government as flood-relief partner

(Oct.28,2009): The Catholic Church in southern India’s Karnataka State has dropped its plan to collaborate with the state government in flood relief, saying the effort has become politicized. After rains and floods ravaged the Karnataka State in early October, the Church had announced it would cooperate with the government's relief and rehabilitation works to avoid duplication. But Bishop Peter Machado of Belgaum, who heads one of the five affected dioceses, told UCA News the Church has decided to work independently, as the government has given no direction for collaboration.
Floods from Sep. 30 to Oct. 2 killed 226 people and destroyed about 500,000 houses in Karnataka's northern region. Nearly 8,000 heads of cattle drowned as water flooded 4,290 villages, damaging around 1.13 million hectares of crops and washing away roads and bridges .The state government has estimated the loss at around 185 billion rupees (US$3.9 billion). Fr. Faustine Lobo, spokesperson for the Church in Karnataka and a consultant to Caritas-.India, alleged the state government seemed "busy collecting funds and making announcements" but has offered no strategies to help the victims.
The Karnataka Regional Organization for Social Service will now coordinate the Church's relief works instead. Bellary diocese, which covers most of the affected regions, has worked out a strategy to help the victims through NGOs.” Bishop Henry D'Souza of Bellary told UCA News. He said the forum has Christian, Hindu and Muslim organizations as members. "We have already spent around 6 million rupees in immediate relief activities," he said and added the forum has fed 15,000 people for 15 days..Bishop D'Souza also said working with NGOs is "more practical and less political than working with" government departments.

All the contents on this site are copyrighted ©.