Here it is August 17th morning, and the flooding still continues in the state of Kerala. This is the 10th day of steady, hard rains brought by one monsoon storm and a second cyclone, right on top of each other.
Last night high winds in addition to ceaseless heavy rains.
It feels like the days of Noah, as we talk to church people who have come out of Kerala to share their losses of house and everything in the houses.
It is not possible for us to go into Kerala now, as all roads into Kerala are blocked by water or landslides. What our people are doing is trekking through the jungle and tea plantations above the rivers and roads to finally reach dry land in Tamil Nadu.
Cell phone contact has been increasingly cut off, since the electricity has been shut down or the grid has collapsed. No electricity, no way to charge a cell phone, and increasingly high levels of flood water everywhere.
Here is a summary of the situation today:
As you will see, there are at least 48 hours more of heavy rain expected to cause flood waters to rise even higher.
We are continuing to pray for God's guidance as what best to do. The South India Church of Christ Mission planted churches are planning to take up a special offering this Sunday for their brothers and sisters in the newly planted churches of Idukki District.
The next step will be finding out ways for Christu Sabha churches to help the churches in Idukki District rebuild their church buildings. And send rice and vegetables and spices to the church leadership to share among the congregations. This especially for the elderly, sick, extremely poor and children who now are at home or have been rescued from their flooded homes.
In Idukki and Wayand District, the flooding is combined with landslides. When the earth becomes too wet, it can turn into mud. And if the roots of trees and plants are not strong enough, the mud slides downhill.
Many reports of landslide damage to houses and also deaths from those hit by landslides.
On the flat land below, the water from the rains has now flooded much usually dry land. From reports, and what we can see on TV, usually dry land is now 1-3 feet under water. This includes all sorts of roads, including the National Highways. Smaller side roads are now boat paths.
All normal life is on hold as the rains and flooding continue. What people are doing is rescuing their neighbors who stayed in their houses in the hopes the flooding would end.
It hasn't ended yet though. Now the waters often force residents to the second floor or any high point on their land. Rescue boats, assisted by the Army and Navy, then have been collecting these new refugees. The problem: where is the dry land and any kind of shelter to put them?
All that we were in the Mission churches can do is pray. We know that God hears prayers and answers prayers. We pray for the suffering, praying that God in His wisdom will spare those whom might otherwise die early deaths.
And show us how best to witness to the love of Jesus for all HIs people when disasters hit.
What is emerging through praying and consultation with our churches is this:
Christmas Program 2018 is the best way to respond to the flooding damage.
There has never been a better time to witness to the love of Jesus for all HIs people than the largest Christmas Program 2018 push into the flood-damaged villages and slums of Kerala.
If you are considering supporting the Christmas Program 2018, please include the challenge and opportunity of the Christmas Program 2018 in a devastated and rebuilding Kerala.
Jesus needs to be there as the rebuilding starts and continues.
This is the third great disaster to hit southern India since 2005. That was when the tsunami hit, with all that death and destruction along the coasts of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.
Then two years ago there was Cyclone Ochki, with the huge windstorm that tore the roofs off so many houses and churches in Tamil Nadu. Our own College lost its roof in that cyclone.
This Great Kerala Flood of 2018 is a larger disaster than Cyclone Ochki. It is actually a larger disaster than the tsunami in the numbers of people impacted and destruction of every kind of building.
So much rebuilding and witnessing to be done once the rains stop!
Your prayers are critical now. Please pray that God will stop the rains. And that Christ's church can give a mighty witness through the Christmas Program 2018 as Kerala rebuilds over the next year once the flooding stops.