By Fr. Scott Binet MD,MI
The Camillians of India are responding to the September 29 flood that devastated N. Karnataka, and CTF Central and SOS DRS are responding to their appeal for support. Karnataka is a state in southern India and its capital city is Bangelore [See map]
Fr. Matthew Perumpil, MI – the provincial delegate of the Camillians in India, recently contacted CTF Central with an update on the recently started relief effort in Karnataka. He also made an appeal for help from CTF Central, which is now gathering its resources to help our confreres. Similarly, Brother Luca MI will be going to the disaster site in India shortly – surely another part of God’s plan!
As happened when Brother Luca recently went to the Philippines to preach a retreat and then found himself in the middle of Typhoon Ketsana (at the end of September), so this time he is going for an already-planned meeting of the provincials and will find himself in the middle of another natural disaster – the flooding in Karnataka.
What happened? Rain havoc and flash floods from September 29 to Oct 2 in 15 districts of north Karnataka claimed 226 lives; destroyed about 501,400 houses; killed 7,800 head of cattle; affected 4,290 villages and damaged 1.13 million hectares of cropland.
In his first communication to CTF Central, Fr. Matthew writes: “Regarding the CTF, Fr. Antony is already in the flood-affected area making the initial assessment. It looks like the needs are more long term. So far, medical issues are not a big issue. He will return on Sunday and we will prepare a plan for a Camillian intervention in the area. Meanwhile, some initial help could be provided through the coordinated activities that are happening there – directly through the CTF (to make our presence felt). Long term plans can be figured out after you are here [writing to Brother Luca]. I just spoke to Fr. Antony now and what our immediate plans would be is to organise health camps in 3 coordination centres, covering 10 villages or more with the help of St. Johns Disaster Management Unit and Lourdes Hospital, Dharward. It looks like Camillians will be taking care of and coordinating the health care needs directly and other agencies will handle other aspects. Is it possible for the CTF to give us an initial grant towards the purchase of essential drugs, logistics management of health camps (accommodation for doctors, nurses, etc. and their food). We are already seeing many dermatological issues, and a cholera outbreak is almost inevitable. We will also be continuing the preventive care programs.
After my initial response that we of CTF Central are seriously evaluating his request and our decision that we would look to SOS DRS for help, Fr. Matthew wrote back: “Thanks for the response. We are focusing on the flood in North Karnataka, at the invitation of the Bishop of Belgaum, who is the chairperson coordinating the relief activities in North Karnataka for the Church [Belgaum is not far from Goa that borders N. Karnataka. See map.]
Fr. Antony joined the team to assess the situation and to plan our immediate intervention needs and long term intervention plans. Fr. Antony will be back in Bangalore on Sunday and will submit a detailed report to me. We would be able to submit a plan of action for the Camillians in India. …
Thanking you once again, and praying for God’s blessings,
Yours in St. Camillus,
Fr. Mathew Perumpil MI
Many thanks to Fr. Matthew for his efforts and those of the Camillians in India together with their collaborators. CTF Central and SOS DRS are gathering their resources to help the victims of the floods in Karnataka through supporting the efforts of CTF India. And we are praying for them and the relief effort as well. Won’t you join us? Please do by praying and giving now.