The world watched in August as Kerala, so-called ‘God’s Own Country’, was devastated by the worst weather experienced there in almost a century. The media and web coverage here and internationally featured mass destruction and distress as weeks of heavy rain tore Kerala apart.
Hundreds of people were killed and thousands injured: vast numbers became homeless as houses were destroyed or severely threatened, and roads and bridges collapsed with landslips. The famously attractive face of this SW Indian State aged suddenly as more than 40 rivers overflowed. Dams in mountainous areas had to be opened to relieve the pressure, and the army was bought in to back up emergency teams. Schools and various institutions and services were unable to function and children in our care largely remained in the safety of our Homes – though damage was reported at each Home. The Carmel Matha Home was later forced to move out to nearby shelter as ever worsening weather saw deep rushing water tossing large rocks into the wall and cracks appeared. Karunanilayam (main Home) and Little Flower reported damage too before communications failed.
Chiks’ financial burden was quickly felt as we sought to provide for restocking food etc. and made urgent transfers of funds to the Homes. The children avoided injury but endured a frightening few weeks. The big casualty in August was our farmland where crops were totally destroyed, security fencing collapsed and much stock and equipment was lost.