As the people of Bihar, India's third largest state, reel under the twin misfortunes of post COVID-19 instability and the onslaught of floods caused by heavy monsoons, the social action centers of the Archdiocese of Patna are on a mission of giving aid to the most affected.
At least 53 people have died and two million people across 1,652 villages in 83 blocks of 16 districts, have been affected by this year’s floods. Over 219,000 people have been evacuated or rescued.
According to data from the Bihar government’s disaster management department, a rough estimation suggested that standing crops on more than 400,000 hectares of land were inundated.
Earlier in the month, the religious sisters of the Apostolic Carmel congregation responded to a distress call from Nadiya Tola in Bariyarpur, some 155 kilometers from Patna. The sisters waded through waist deep water to reach out to about 100 poor families.
"The parishioners and religious houses in Patna came together to collect enough funds to buy food relief kits for some 300 flood-affected people in Barh block,” said Father James Shekhar, director of the archdiocesan social action centre.
The kits weighed about 25 kilograms and contained rice, lentils, wheat, cooking oil, and sanitation material to last a month.
Supported by the Catholic Relief Services, the archdiocesan center managed the distribution of flood relief for 1,000 families, in Bariyarpur block in Munger District.
With the help of Caritas India, over 325 families in Jamalpur block also received essential supplies.
Earlier in the month, Alfred D'Rozario, a member of the tiny Anglo-Indian community in the state, donated an ambulance to the social service center. The ambulance service has become a vital life support system for the diocese, especially during the second wave of the pandemic. - Frank Krishner / RVA News