Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA) is asking donors to assist people in southern India after receiving urgent requests for aid from partners in Kerala.
“Raging floodwaters have caused massive mudslides in the hilly areas,” said M.L. Thomas, CNEWA’s regional director in Kerala.
“Farm lands have been wiped out and houses have disappeared. It is heartbreaking to watch.”
Torrential rains and landslides buried homes, people, livestock and patches of agricultural lands in mud several feet deep. At least 200 bodies have been recovered from homes buried in mud. More than 250,000 people have been displaced and housed in temporary shelters, including parish community centers, since the rains began Aug. 8.
Urgent online donations may be made to www.cnewa.org/web/emergencyindia, or donations may be made by visiting www.cnewa.org, by calling 800-442-6392 or by mail to CNEWA, 1011 First Ave., New York, N.Y. 10022-4195.
Donations will be used to clean and restore homes for the poorest of the poor and help farmers clear their land destroyed by the rain and mudslides.
“While we are not an emergency relief organization, “I urge our friends and benefactors to do what they can to help us as we accompany the churches of Kerala respond to these real human tragedies,” said Msgr. John Kozar, CNEWA’s president.
“Helping the poorest of the poor—right now through the eparchies of Palghat, Mananthavady and Thamarassery—is a beautiful expression of how we stand in solidarity with the Eastern Catholic Churches.”
Cardinal Dolan is chairman of CNEWA, which is an agency of the Holy See that aids the people of India, the Middle East, Northeast Africa and Eastern Europe by working with the Eastern churches to assist displaced families and suffering people; provide maternity health care to the poorest of the poor; and support initiatives for the marginalized, especially children, elderly and disabled.
The organization also supports the education of seminarians, religious novices and lay leaders and rebuilds and equips churches, convents, rectories and schools.