07/12/2023, 13.57
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As monsoon-related deaths in northern India reach a hundred, the Church mobilises to bring aid

by Nirmala Carvalho

Floods and landslides have particularly affected the state of Himachal Pradesh. The level of the Yamuna River is worrying in Delhi. The poor “are facing difficulties,” and “if people are in need of food, they should be helped,” the bishop of Simla-Chandigarh told AsiaNews. “We have asked our clinics to provide medicine to the poor and for those suffering,” he added.

Delhi (AsiaNews) – About 100 people have died from floods in northern India that have hit in particular the state of Himachal Pradesh over the past three days.

Over the past week, monsoon rains have been damaged infrastructure and several rivers are flooding. In Delhi, the Yamuna swelled above 207 metres this morning and local authorities have called an emergency meeting.

“We have sent a message to all our institutions wherever there are floods and calamities to open their doors to shelter to people who are stranded,” said Bishop Ignatius Mascarenhas of Simla-Chandigarh, which covers Himachal Pradesh. “I also told them that besides accommodation, if people are in need of food, they should be helped.”

Around 300 people, mostly tourists, are still stuck in the mountain peaks of Himachal Pradesh due to the incessant rains and snowfall.

Despite lower rainfall, 15 people lost their lives in Punjab and Haryana. In the mountains of nearby Uttarakhand, nine pilgrims were killed and 13 others injured from landslides and rockfalls in the last 24 hours.

“We have asked our clinics to provide medicine to the poor and for those suffering, because even around Chandigarh, people who are affected are coming,” Bishop Mascarenhas noted.

“I have personally spoken to all our institutions in the hills about the conditions and how they are coping. So far there seems to be no significant setback in our buildings except in one place, Solan, where a mudslide affected the presbytery,” he added.

Meanwhile, residents in Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Delhi have posted frightening pictures of vehicles floating, muddy waters pouring into residential areas, and structures submerged by rivers and landslides.

“Poor people in areas like Ambala are facing difficulties after water entered our schools and convents,” the prelate went on to say.

“Jesus and Mary sisters in Ambala are having a rough time. The Redemptorist Fathers fortunately are young, and so they managed even though the water entered their residence. [. . .] In Ropar district, the Jesuits and the Holy Family Sisters also saw their places inundated”.

“The Catholic Church in Simla-Chandigarh rushed aid and  relief, reaching out to provide immediate help to affected people wherever needed. In some parts, the rains have subsided but in others, there is overflow of the river because the dams have been opened so they are still prone to floods.”

The Indian Meteorological Department issued a red alert in Uttarakhand and ten districts of Himachal Pradesh while forecasting a drop in rainfall in other areas of Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, and the Chandigarh, starting today.

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