Villagers in Thrukandalam, Thiruvallur, gather to receive the first round of clean, drinkable water from the newly-installed AP700 point-of-source water purification unit, thanks to support from UMCOR and GlobalMedic. Photo: GlobalMedic
UMCOR and partner GlobalMedic provide clean water to communities in India after serious flooding
By David Tereshchuk*
January 21, 2016—In these days of growing awareness of global climate change it is hard to say what might be called “normal” weather for India. But the severity of rains that have lashed that country’s southern states in the past few months certainly stand out as extraordinary.
Rainfall levels have broken all records in eastern Tamil Nadu state. Some overnight rains have registered 6 inches within a 24-hour period in Tamil Nadu’s capital city, Chennai, which has a population of 4.3 million people. Flood-related deaths have reached nearly 400 since last October.
India has not seen such rainfall for over a century. Overall, more than 68 million people have been affected, and at least 200,000 have been left homeless.
UMCOR, the United Methodist Committee on Relief, is partnering with Canada-based GlobalMedic and India-based Church’s Auxiliary for Social Action (CASA) to meet the needs of India’s affected populations.
Addressing ruined water-sources
|At the government school in Budhampi, UMCOR and GlobalMedic's installation team explain to students and officials how to use and dispense clean drinking water from their new AP700 unit. Photo: GlobalMedic
UMCOR is working with GlobalMedic to provide clean water to counter the all-too-common waterborne illnesses that come in the wake of serious flooding.
Most communities in Tamil Nadu rely on hand-pumps and wells as their main water source, and most of these have been badly damaged or entirely submerged beneath the surging torrents.
Ironically, a major GlobalMedic consignment of water-purification equipment, some intended for individual households, some for whole communities, was already on its way to Nepal in the aftermath of last summer’s earthquake disaster. It was held up because of a border dispute between India and Nepal, and now is being re-directed to Tamil Nadu.
Remembering the stricken
GlobalMedic’s small water-purification kits and its community-scale units will go to help threatened families in both Chennai and the districts of Thiruvallur, Kanjipuram, and Cuddalore, to the west and south of the capital.
In Cuddalore District, UMCOR also is working with CASA to provide materials for emergency shelters, hygiene kits, and other non-food items to 1,450 families impacted by the floods. People in the district have lost loved ones, livestock, crops, and homes to the severe weather and flooding.
“India is one of those countries for which Western media attention can wane very quickly. But UMCOR has not forgotten the people of India,” remarked the Rev. Jack Amick, UMCOR’s assistant general secretary for International Disaster Response.
“I am grateful to our partners on the ground and donors the world over,” he continued,” for making UMCOR’s ministry of tangible love and care reach those who otherwise might be quickly forgotten.”
Your gift to UMCOR International Disaster Response, Advance # 982450, will help communities like those in Tamil Nadu recover from disaster.
*David Tereshchuk is a journalist and media critic who contributes regularly to www.umcor.org.