Dear brothers and sisters,
Greetings and Peace to you in the most blessed name of our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ.
In this letter I would like to inform you about the drastic conditions due to heavy rains in the State of Andhra Pradesh and our district East Godavari.
Andhra Pradesh state is badly affected by the heavy rains and floods. So there is no exemption for East Godavari district and Rajahmundry area where we are working. For the last 3 months, we are having continuous rains and sometimes there are heavy rains and floods. Cyclones hit the state several times. For the last one week, rains are heavily hit the state especially the East Godavari district. East Godavari recorded highest rainfall in 24 hours at a single place a day in this year in entire Asia. There is another cyclone is moving towards Andhra Pradesh which will be very strong of its kind during this year. It may start within 24 to 48 hours. We are praying for relief from the cyclone damages and protection from the coming cyclone.
The village I mentioned (Srirangapatnam) earlier in my letter is again affected by the rainy storm and the village is again submerged with the waters. They are badly affected and the situation is not come normal. It was highlighted in the local news papers also. I have got some pictures of that village. I will send them soon. Please pray for the flood situation here in Andhra especially in East Godavari district and Rajahmundry area. By God’s Grace, Rajahmundry area is less effected when compare with other areas. But all the members of the Church affected by this rains by losing wage employment. Actually this season is good for crops and daily wage employment.
The reports of the print and electronic media covers only interesting and sensational stories but not the gross root level actual problems. The government is also unable to identify the entire problems; they touch only some priority items like deaths, crop damage, cattle damage etc. The officials are not interested in collecting information about the problems of the people living below poverty line. The wage loss, shelter loss, loss of food stuffs, utensils loss, health problems etc. there is a big problem during these floods is “safe drinking water”. No sufficient relief teams are attending at the badly affected areas as coming in the news papers. But in some limited places camps are conducting during these floods by government and these are giving shelter, providing some food etc for a limited period. But these are not fully equipped rehabilitation shelters. Andhra Pradesh had a name “Rice Bowl of India” and East and West Godavari districts had the same name “Rice Bowl of Andhra Pradesh”. But, today it may going to face famine as more than 50% crops are washed away so far.
Regarding the Churches; there are most number of Churches of Christ in Andhra Pradesh. The number is more than 20000. There is an amazing and encouraging fact is that the half of the world Christian population (approximately) is in Andhra Pradesh State.
In my personnel estimation (observation) and information gathered from media, I submit the following regarding the heavy rains and floods in Andhra Pradesh (East Godavari is the highest affected district among other districts) so far this year:
1. Crop damage (Paddy, Groundnut, Banana, cotton, Vegetables etc) – 50%
2. Crop damage in Acres – 650,000 Acres.
3. The public affected by the floods(flood victims) – 585000
4. Houses submerged – 126000
5. Houses fallen to ground – 11000
6. People vacated from low lying areas – 30000
7. Breaches to Irrigation Tanks – 600
8. Deaths - 100 and more
9. Loss of wage (daily wage employment) – 70%
10. Transport facilities – 80% (during the times of intensive floods and rains)
11. Damage of Roads – 75 %
12. Length of Roads completely damaged – 943 Kilometers
The following are the figures of the churches and the Christians:
1. Poverty in the Christian population – 95%
2. Churches in Rural areas(Villages) – 75%
3. Wage loss – 90%
4. Christians among others affected by the floods – 90%
5. Church buildings fallen to ground – 1100 and more
6. Christian population affected by the floods – 850000
Regarding consequences of the floods and heavy rains, Christians in Andhra Pradesh are affected in the following ways:
1. They lost their daily wage to feed their families. This season is crops season, so they can get their regular daily wage (most of the working days) during this season. So the loss is very high.
2. They are struggling for food grains and vegetables as they have no sufficient money.
3. Their debts are increasing day by day.
4. Most of the Christians in Andhra are from downtrodden communities. In other words say that they are untouchables. (Traces of untouchability is still going on here in India). They live in slums, weaker section colonies which are far from the main village with no proper facilities like Roads, drainage, water supply, sanitation and most of them are low-lying areas. These houses are mostly temporary structures and sheds covered by Palmaira leaves. So Christians are the highest single group among others who are affected by these floods and rains in Andhra Pradesh.
5. The Christians are struggling for clothing.
6. The Christians are struggling for Shelter.
7. The Christians are struggling for Safe Drinking Water.
8. The Christians are struggling with low sanitation and communicable diseases.
9. The coming days are very hard for Christians.
These are my estimation only to give you some idea about the flood damages. Actual figures may vary slightly.
Please pray for the safety and recovery of the people from Andhra Pradesh.
May God Bless You.
Yours brother in Christ,