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INDIA: Salesian Missionaries are Providing Relief and Assistance to Those Affected by Intense Flooding

(MissionNewswire) Salesian missionaries in Chennai, India have been providing food, shelter and supplies to residents affected by flooding in the area. According to CNN, the city of 4.6 million people on India’s southeast coast has been dealing with intense flooding after some of the heaviest and deadliest rains in decades have occurred in the region since October.

Flooding has killed more than 300 people in the region and close to 28,000 have needed to be rescued, according to India’s National Disaster Response Force. The flooding knocked out government services, stopped public transportation, damaged roads and left people stranded. As the flood water begins to recede, relief efforts are already underway. India’s National Crisis Management Committee recently reported that nearly 90 percent of the city has power, buses are running again and many schools are starting to reopen.

Salesian missionaries living and working in the region are dealing with the damage to their own facilities while responding to the situation with aid for the flood victims, many who have lost everything. Several Salesian houses situated in the worst hit areas were badly affected and the children living in them had to be moved to safety. Some older buildings and walls around Salesian compounds have collapsed due to erosion caused by the flooding.

Many of the children in the damaged Salesian houses lost the few possessions they had including clothing, bedding, pillows and blankets as well as valuable school supplies such as books and stationary. Also lost to the flood damage were major kitchen appliances, televisions and DVD players in the houses. At this point, the primary concern for Salesian staff is making sure the children remain safe and have their basic needs met including food, clothing and adequate shelter.

A Don Bosco Flood Relief Services team has been organized under the direction of Salesian Father Johnson, Father Mani Lazar and Father Jesumanickam and has been reaching out to hundreds of people in need. In addition, more than 100 youth volunteers with bikes have been aiding villages that are inaccessible due to flooded and collapsed roadways. For those in the surrounding communities of Chennai whose homes could not be repaired right away, Salesian missionaries and students have relocated villagers, mostly women and children, to safety by transporting them by boat to local church compounds and state school buildings. Missionaries have also set up temporary camps to provide shelter to those in need. In total, Salesian missionaries have been able to assist and provide supplies to close to 60 villages.

“Salesian missionaries were able to immediately assess the situation on the ground and move into action providing assistance and relief,” says Father Mark Hyde, executive director of Salesian Missions, the U.S development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Our programs are helping to provide food, clothing and shelter to those in need and our missionaries will remain in Chennai through the long recovery process helping the many affected families.”

With the support of students, teachers and volunteers, Salesian missionaries have distributed more than 8,000 packets of cooked food and candles as well as clothing and other supplies to families in communities and villages in the area. Looking ahead to the weeks and months to come, missionaries plan to repair their facilities and replace lost items while continuing to help local families in need.



ANS – India – Don Bosco Flood Relief continues

ANS – India – The Flood Relief works of the Salesians in the affected areas

CNN – Relief effort underway for flood-ravaged Chennai in India