Floods Devastate India, Leave 284 Dead

Torrential flooding in India has forced evacuation of millions in the country and left at least 284 dead, sources report.

Over 50 Indian villages have been submerged by the heavy rains, displacing nearly 2.5 million people, according to Catholic relief group Caritas Internationalis.

"We have never experienced anything like this before. It is the worst flooding in 100 years," said Ambrose Christy, Caritas India representative. "The situation could become even more severe as the rains get worst."

Worst hit by the floods were the states of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, collectively suffering over 240 deaths. According to officials, evacuation efforts continue in Andrha Pradesh while several districts in Karnataka are under the danger of an overflow from the Krishna River.

 "If the Krishna River bursts its banks, millions more will be forced from their homes and a huge area of land will be underwater," said Christy.

Despite extreme conditions, relief efforts in the region are in, "full swing, and it may take a few more days for the situation to stabilize," according to federal home minister P. Chidambaram speaking to CNN.

"Caritas is able to give immediate relief to the people who have been forced from their homes," Christy commented. "At the moment, the focus is on food, medical supplies, drinking water, and making sure people are safe. It's too early to make assessments of damage to homes and livelihoods."

Food aid is particularly urgent for the affected region, according to Christian relief group World Vision.

 "What is needed is a massive coordinated response involving the federal and central governments, and local and international NGOs to make sure food aid gets through," Dr. Jayakumar Christian, National Director for World Vision India, told the Christian Post.

"Rates of malnourishment are already extremely high in India. Almost half of all under-fives are malnourished and these droughts and floods are pushing families to the very edge," he said.

Donations to assist the efforts of World Vision and Caritas can be made via their websites.

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