08/24/2007, 00.00
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Caritas: South Asia still helpless from flooding

Caritas Internationalis yesterday issued a press release on the current situation in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal. After the monsoon rains it is still an emergency. Some 1,800 people have died, a number bound to rise.

Rome (AsiaNews) – In a press release Caritas Internationalis warned that half of Bangladesh, India’s northern regions, almost all of Nepal and some provinces of Pakistan are still in a helpless situation as a result of the terrible heavy rains of the last few weeks. And things might get worse. For this reason, the international Catholic aid agency is trying to use all the means at its disposal in each country to provide maximum relief to the populations affected by monsoon rains.

“There are still so many families who are totally helpless, living on the streets or under trees or in other people’s houses,” said Denis Baskey, regional director of Caritas Rajshahi in Bangladesh.

Altogether more than 30 million people have displaced by massive flooding in South Asia.

In Bihar, in northern India, flood waters are contaminated by corpses, dead livestock, and waste.

“The villages in and around Darbhanga in Bihar look like islands surrounded by an ocean,” said Fr Varghese Mattamana, executive director of Caritas India. “There are no boats to reach remote villages, and it may take months for the water to subside.”

In Nepal more than 37,000 families across much of the country have been affected by the flooding. The director of the local Caritas locale, Fr Silas Bogati, told AsiaNews that “unlike other Caritas, we are a young organisation. We are trying to do our best by focusing on the needs of the population. We are giving out food and medicines but without roads it is complicated to go where the need is.”

Overall the monsoons claimed the lives of nearly 1,800 people. Now epidemics and poor communications will lead to more deaths.

A fund raising campaign was launched to come to the aid for the people in need. The goal is US$ 6 million to help the displaced.

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