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Gospel for Asia Responds with Relief Efforts to Worst Natural Disaster in History of India

Early Monsoon There and in Nepal Leaves More Than 180 Dead, Thousands Stranded

Contact: Taun Cortado, 972-300-3120, tauncortado@gfa.org

CARROLLTON, Texas, June 21, 2013 /Christian Newswire/ -- Floodwaters and landslides that claimed more than 180 lives and left thousands stranded in the northern mountainous Indian state of Uttarakhand and nearby areas and in Nepal after four days of torrential rainfall have spurred Gospel for Asia (GFA) relief efforts there into action. 

GFA relief personnel already are providing clean water and food and meeting basic needs of those affected in the outskirts of the disaster.  They are standing by with immediate aid as soon as the government allows them to enter the worst-hit areas. 

"This suffering makes our hearts ache, because we know that God loves all of us," said K. P. Yohannan, GFA founder and president. "We must not only feel compassion, but we must also act to relieve suffering wherever we find it."

The monsoon is being termed the worst natural disaster in India's history, with government officials calling it a "ghastly tragedy." Because it came earlier than usual in the season, the monsoon left the region grossly unprepared, increasing the loss of life. Houses, multi-story buildings, apartments, cars and one temple were swept away in days of gushing floodwaters that tore through towns. More than 20 bridges and dozens of roads have been washed away, leaving thousands stranded and waiting to be rescued.

More than 150 are known dead in India. Hundreds of people are unaccounted for. Bodies are still being discovered among washed-out homes. The final death toll is expected to rise.

Thousands have already been evacuated by the Indian government. The military has air-dropped supplies to those still cut off and has closed the area until the situation is less dangerous for relief personnel to enter.

There are 46 churches in the region of the worst flooding in India. In Uttarkashi, GFA's Bridge of Hope center for children is standing, and the children and their families are reported safe. However, a pastor in Saharanpur reports the anguish of seeing many people weeping as they watched their houses wash away. With electric lines down, there is no connection with GFA personnel in the worst-hit areas.

The situation is similar in western Nepal, where at least 39 are dead, and more are missing. In Bardiya, around 2,000 houses have flooded, with GFA field reports of more than 2,000 people temporarily or permanently displaced from their homes in many villages. Authorities said more than 600 families in Khairichandanpur are at great risk of flood and in need of immediate rescue.

In Nawalparasi, Nepal, as many as 12 villages located close to the Narayani River were flooded, with 12 spurs on the dam swept away. Residents living close to the dam have urged their government to coordinate with the Indian government to initiate immediate measures to resettle them to safety.  

"Pray for the rescue of the missing and the stranded and that God would restore good weather in this area," said Yohannan. "In our Lord's name, we must pray and respond to this situation."

To donate to disaster relief in India and Nepal, visit www.gfa.org/flood/northindia/.  One hundred percent of all gifts will go to the projects for which they are designated.

Gospel for Asia (www.gfa.org) is a mission organization based in Carrollton, Texas, involved in sharing the love of Jesus across South Asia.

To schedule an interview with a Gospel for Asia official, contact Taun Cortado at 972-300-3120 or tauncortado@gfa.org.