Indian Floods: Carmelites both suffer and offer solidarity

Friday, 7 September 2018

Carmelites in India, supported by the Order in Britain and worldwide, have come to the aid of people devasted by recent flooding in India.

The monsoon season in India is always wet, but since June parts of the country - especially the state of Kerala - have struggled to cope with the worst floods in a century. The floods have produced an estimate of 1,000 fatalities. Thousands of homes have been damaged, displacing more than a million people who have sought shelter in relief camps. The BBC reported this week that Kerala is now having to battle an outbreak of 'rat fever' as the disease spreads through floodwater.

 

 

The Carmelite Order (Ancient Observance) has two groups of friars: the Province of St. Thomas, and the General Delegation of St. Thérèse and St. Albert. Both have been providing assistance to the people most affected by the floods, despite having been flooded themselves.

One example is in Chris Cappell College where shelter and all basic necessities have been offered to some 650 people. The college buildings can be reached only by boat at present.

Carmelaram Priory at Ernakulam in North Paravur, Kerala, has been flooded, but - with help from the wider Order and benefactors - the friars there are confident for the future.

 

Flooding at Carmelarum Priory.

 

Flooding at Carmelarum Priory.

 

Flooding at Carmelarum Priory.

 

Even though the level of the water is going down, many families are unable to return to their homes, and in some cases have lost their places of work. They continue to live in a state of emergency.

The Indian state of Kerala has one of the subcontinent's highest populations of Christians. Ancient tradition asserts that Saint Thomas the Apostle brought Christianity to the region in the year 52. Today's Keralan Christians are meeting the flood crisis with both prayer and practical aid, reaching out to neighbours in need regardless of their religion.

 

Carmelite relief efforts.

 

The Carmelite relief camp at Chris Cappell College.

 

Carmelite friars supporting their neighbours in Kerala.

 

The British Province of Carmelites, in conjunction with the Order's shrines at Aylesford and Faversham, has already sent £7,000 in aid to the Carmelites in India, knowing that the money will get directly to those in need on the front line.

Donations to help our Indian Carmelite brothers in their relief efforts can be sent to Br. Paul de Groot, O.Carm., at: The Friars, Aylesford, Kent, ME20 7BX. Please make cheques payable to The Carmelites, and specify that your donation is for the Indian flood relief.

You can also donate online with a debit/credit card through the Carmelite charity The Society of the Little Flower.

 

Sources

  • CITOC (News service of the Carmelite Curia)
  • Provincial Office of the British Province of Carmelites