CLCI – India Flood Relief Report ~ January 2010

The following report comes from Pastor Jyothi Benjamin of the Church of the Confession of India.

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“..My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness…” 2 Cor 12:9

12th January 2010

Honorable Chairman, members of the Board of Missions, and respected Kinship Committee.
Dearly beloved brothers.

Greetings to all of you in the saving Name of our living God Christ Jesus.

Sorry for the long silence because of the Christmas and New Year visitations to our long distance CLCI flood affected congregations. As you know these floods in the year ending of 2009 has changed all our lives very busy. We had never witnessed a tragedy and destruction due to sudden Krishna river floods on such a large scale. As you know, with this severe affect of these sudden flash floods, hundreds our members have been thrust into more poverty, who have lost everything, including their farming equipment. The relief effort has been enormous and is having a significant effect, as local pastors testified. We were deeply moved by the trauma they have suffered. They desperately want to enter into their livelihoods for the men to go back to the agricultural fields and the women to resume their livelihoods. The loss of property and seven lives due to these floods left our flood affected CLCI congregations with the saddest feelings. While thousands of people have rendered homeless due to these sudden flash floods, more than 1250 families have directly connected to the CLCI, have lost their huts and their belongings including cattle. They lost their source of living and sense of security. These floods became unprecedented calamity for the CLCI.

Under these circumstances, with great courage, with the tremendous support form the respected CLC-US; the CLCI immediately stepped in. It is really wonderful to know that all the CLC-US rose as one to help the flood victims of the CLCI. It was really great to note that your kind support and grief are accompanied by a steadfast resolution. It was to rebuild the CLCI in the flood affected areas. Your surge of Christian love and humanitarian spirit completely overwhelmed us. We worked tirelessly to save lives and give sustenance. It was a massive rescue and relief effort. We immediately set about the task of rebuilding the lives of flood affected members. With the great love and generous helping hand given by the respected members of the CLC –USA, we have been doing relief efforts very successfully as follows.

The CLCI has implemented recovery program through the following measures: (1) Removal of Rubble: our CLCI volunteers helped in removing of rubble before the process of repairs to the huts. (2) Setting up of temporary / interim shelters: The CLCI facilitated the availability of temporary shelters for homeless by arranging rented tents so that affected members can stay there for the intervening period. (3) Repair of damaged roofs: Our Volunteers have also given a great assistance during repairs of the huts, roofs and walls etc. to the affected members. We have done maximum repairs in strengthening of many huts to withstand better.

The relief process has become little slow because while the real victims are busy trying to get their huts in order, removing the rubble from their houses, etc, the other nearby village people who are not our members and who are not affected (or in general stronger people) are coming to claim relief materials. So it has become also an important step in communication clearly with our CLCI pastors and the affected members of the CLCI. We have decided to restrict our relief efforts to our CLCI members only by helping them get back to normal life.

First phase of the flood relief program: Under this first phase relief program, we have assessed the damages in all the flood affected CLCI congregations, and develop a feasible scale of assistance for the affected members. We regret to inform you that many of our CLCI members have lost their belongings, paddy and have been suffering from partially and fully damaged houses due to heavy floods. On the first phase of flood relief program, we have made some immediate efforts to distribute cooked food and emergency used cloths like blankets etc to the victims. We have served cooked food and biscuits in more than 20 flood affected villages for our CLCI members. We have served cooked food (rice and vegetable sambar curry with paper plate) twice a day for two days for more than three thousand affected members in nearly 20 villages. Also we regret to inform you that many of our members have suffered from contaminated diseases because of the polluted drinking water. Due to the effect of the disaster, almost all the water has polluted, thus becoming a cause to spread various dangerous diseases like Diarrhea, Dysentery, Typhoid, Cholera, etc. These diseases attacked many of our people. Because of this reason we have conducted several medical camps in various CLCI flood affected congregations to save our members from contaminated deceases. For these we have provided medicines, bleaching power, and phenyl. Also we have conducted a special medical camp for cattle. We regret to inform you that sixty eight of our CLCI families lost their cattle, mainly water buffaloes which are the main source of their livelihood.

Second phase of the flood relief program: After successful completion of the first phase, with the tremendous encouragement from the respected CLC, we have started this second phase of flood relief program. In this second phase, CLCI volunteers have again come forward to supplement the efforts to provide relief to the affected members. In the month of December 2009 we left as a team from Nidubrolu to the flood affected CLCI congregations to do the second phase relief work. With your great help, we have been doing a series of programs for economic rehabilitation and livelihood restoration. We have developed a schedule for distributing extra rice, sleeping mats and family kits, etc to all the 1250 affected CLCI members. Each family kit contains one stainless steel dining plate, one stainless steel tumbler, one rice bowl, one curry bowl, one plastic bucket, one plastic jug, one blanket and one towel. Also we have provided 5kgs of extra rice and one plastic sleeping mat to the entire flood affected CLCI members. It took several weeks to complete this second phase of relief program. The situation is changing and improving day by day as the CLCI flood relief efforts continue on their way. Rehabilitation is what we have focused on – this not only makes affected members self-sufficient again, but also this is a need expressed by many of the CLCI flood victims themselves. Sadly though, once the help comes in, and as memories of this disaster fade with the passage of time, their problems are often forgotten, but their problems don’t go right away.

Other needs Dear brothers, with your permission, these following are the few other important things we would like to bring in front of you on behalf of the sincere request from very poor flood affected members. We are humbly requesting the respected CLC to look into these following remaining needs also as per your capability and time.
1. Possible help for repairing the damaged churches and prayer sheds. (12 congregations and 36 preaching stations.) We would like to provide asbestos sheets and cement posts to support repairs of the damaged churches and palm leaves and bamboos to the damaged prayer sheds.

2. Possible help to the each family of the person, who was killed: We feel so sad for the terrible tragedy we have witnessed after the floods. One terrible feature of these flash floods tragedy is that seven members are dead and many people need help who are suffering with injuries. Seven deaths were happened. They are 6 men (including one pastor) and one lady. We feel especially terrible for the families who have lost their dear ones. Especially the family, who has lost a man, they have nowhere to go for lively hood.

3. Possible help to the school going children who have lost their books (Note books, slates): We have met the children who have lost their books and made a list their needed books, stationary including pens and pencils; slates have taken into account. In this project more than 650 kids enrolled who have lost their books during floods. It would be very kind of you if you could help these children.

4. Possible help to the families lost their cattle: There are 68 families who have lost their water buffaloes, which are the main source of their livelihood.
We have done the relief programs with much hard work and plan. Please see the attached pdf file for the CLCI flood relief accounts. We are praying our Almighty living God Christ Jesus for His grace to grant us courage and strength to do the remaining things and to recover quickly from this difficult crisis.

Your generous contribution enabled our flood affected members to recover emotionally and psychologically. From the bottom of our hearts we thank all the CLC members who have helped these CLCI flood victims. The CLC’s outpouring of support has been tremendous. Generous donors have contributed much to the affected members’ relief and rehabilitation efforts and we thank you. I am sure all the CLCI flood affected members will gladly remember you all for ever. Because you have shown such a heartfelt compassion, Christian love, tremendous encouragement, kindness and the generous help in this time of tragedy. We once again thank you for your amazing generous donations and help, which have been rebuilding the affected families for a brighter future.

Dear brothers and sisters, thank you once again for your valuable service and help.

I remain,
Yours in His grace
Pastor Jyothi Benjamin.