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INDIA: Salesians provide relief in response to devastating floods, mudslides

Salesians will continue to aid those who have been impacted in the coming weeks and months


(MissionNewswire) Salesian missionaries are responding after devastating floods and subsequent mudslides impacted the Indian state of Kerala, which claimed at least 27 lives and displaced thousands of people. The rain started on Oct. 15 and while rainfall has subsided, landslides and floods across multiple districts are hampering relief efforts. Salesians with KISMAT (Kerala Interstate Migrants Alliance for Transformation) have ramped up rescue and relief efforts in Kottayam. The efforts have been led by Father Tony Plavilayil, state director with KISMAT.

Salesian volunteers have distributed food packets and groceries to people in the district. They have also provided temporary shelter for people, gathered food and other materials for relief camps, and offered counseling for women and children who have been impacted.

In addition, volunteers are working to mobilize relief materials in close coordination with the district administration. During rescue and relief operations, people from neighborhood groups extended support and coordination. Salesians will continue to aid those who have been impacted in the coming weeks and months.

“Because Salesian missionaries live in the communities in which they work, they are perfectly positioned to respond in times of crisis,” said Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Salesians are helping to support people now and will be there long after the floodwaters recede and mudslide damage repaired, helping families to rebuild their homes and their lives.”

Salesians from KISMAT have also been on the front lines of supporting local people during the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting lockdowns. KISMAT has been helping migrants with food kits, psychological counseling, organization of return trips and hospital assistance. KISMAT pledged to pay migrants their unpaid wages and to guarantee housing and educational support for immigrant students. To raise awareness among the population, KISMAT created educational posters and videos to explain the causes and effects of COVID-19.

India has the world’s fourth largest economy but more than 22 percent of the country lives in poverty. About 31 percent of the world’s multidimensionally poor children live in India, according to a report by the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative. A multidimensionally poor child is one who lacks at least one-third of 10 indicators, grouped into three dimensions of poverty: health, education and standard of living.

Salesian programs across India are primarily focused on education. Salesian primary and secondary education in the country helps youth prepare for later technical, vocational or university study. Other programs help to support poor youth and their families by meeting the basic needs of shelter, proper nutrition and medical care.



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