NEW DELHI, India, JULY 17, 2005 (Zenit.org).- The Caritas network of Catholic-aid organizations is mobilizing its local agencies to respond to the emergency in India and Pakistan triggered by heavy rains.
Caritas-India has launched an appeal to the worldwide organization for $7.5 million, to assist the tens of thousands of people affected by the floods in the states of Gujarat, Madyha Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir.
To date, the monsoon rains, which have devastated these areas in recent weeks, have left 300 dead and some 2 million affected, Caritas-Spain told ZENIT on Friday.
Caritas has initiated an emergency plan for more than 13,500 families in 140 villages of Gujarat, for an additional 8,000 families in 76 towns of Madyha Pradesh, and for an unspecified number of families in 34 villages of Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir.
All these people are being given food rations for a 10-day period, as well as drinking water and essential products.
Within the next few days, Caritas-India is planning to establish medical clinics in the affected areas, each of which will be able to treat some 300 people.
As in India, the monsoon is battering the southern regions of neighboring Pakistan, and the local Caritas is responding with emergency aid for those affected.
The floods have damaged some 100 towns in southern Punjab, leaving 10 dead and over 200,000 displaced. Thousands of homes have been destroyed.
Local Caritas workers and volunteers are helping some 3,500 families with food, basic goods and temporal shelter. Within weeks, Caritas hopes to establish two temporary medical centers in all of the five flood affected districts.