The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) expresses its profound grief and sorrow at the unprecedented floods affecting Kerala, causing heavy loss of lives and damage to crops, houses, cattle and property. Over 50 people are reported to have lost their lives and thousands of people have been evacuated and moved to rehabilitation camps. Economic and collateral losses to people and their livelihood are huge though still to be effectively calculated. We share the anguish of the people affected by this huge natural disaster and we wish to express our closeness to them.
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference appreciates the quick and efficient relief work undertaken by the local and State Government authorities. We also appreciate the strong and immediate support being provided by the Union government in the relief operations.
The solidarity manifested and the help being provided cutting across political divides and religious or class belongingness is exemplary. We salute the noble spirit of the people of Kerala as they valiantly battle the challenges faced by them in this critical and difficult time. The Catholic Church condoles the death of our brothers and sisters who were caught unaware as nature’s fury took hold of large parts of Kerala. We express our solidarity with the injured and the suffering.
The Catholic Church is already out in the field through her Wing of Mercy and Charity, Caritas India. Our local Bishops, Clergy, Religious Sisters and lay volunteers are also involved in relief and succour operations. In different dioceses, Church authorities have opened church schools and other institutions to the displaced people, and are distributing food, clothes and other relief materials. Many parishes, schools and other Church institutions have become the centres of aid and assistance to people in need.
While trying to help people in the affected areas without discrimination of faith, or class, wherever it is possible for us to reach out, we appeal to people of good will all across the country and elsewhere to come to the aid of our suffering brethren. We are also concerned about the health situation in the affected areas. The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India expresses its ardent desire to work with the Government and all like-minded agencies to provide relief and help in all possible ways to the suffering people.
When the fury and rampage of the floods and unbridled water flow goes away, it would be desirable to analyse the causes of the floods, and take urgent steps to preserve our environment and prevent further ecological damage to our Common Home, Mother Earth, destruction often brought about by our human actions.
We pray for all those affected and also for all who are actively or through contributions helping the people in dire distress.
May the Almighty bless us with his abundant graces and mercies.
Yours Sincerely in Our Lord
Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas, SFX
Secretary General, CBCI