Devastating Kerala floods draw creative and spirited responses from young Anglicans and others

30 August 2018

The youth call centre 'Cyber Warrior' team. Image: Church of South India, Diocese of East Kerala

“For the people of Kerala, ‘God’s own Country’, felt for a moment like ‘God’s disowned Country’, with 75% of the State affected by an unprecedented two weeks of monsoon rains. With 300+ lives lost, livestock dead and missing, and property lost and damaged, it seemed like the end of the world. However, the people of Kerala, with its 30 million living in the state and 4 million in other states and across the world, are of one spirit in rebuilding Kerala.” So said Fr Charley Thomas, Dean of Holy Cross Cathedral, Lusaka, Zambia, who is originally from Kerala.

“The floods have helped rebuild a spirit of unity, politically, ecumenically, socially and across religious faiths”‘ he continues. “The rescue operations included youths and fishermen, from all faiths, with the army, air force, navy, fire force, police, government and civil society. It is the people of God converted to compassion, with the ability to see God in the other person, that makes Kerala ‘God’s own Country’, the ancient Malabar Coast, where St. Thomas, planted the seeds of diversity in AD 52.”

Amongst those responding to the tragedy are ‘The Cyber Warriors of the CSI Madhya Kerala Diocese’. The young Anglicans came together to operate a rescue helpline/call centre from the Church of South India Retreat Centre in Kottayam. Even as the tragedy unfolded, the group was receiving mobile phone messages from people stranded by the floods, using the GPS signals and Google maps to locate them and passing on this crucial information to the rescue operation teams. Thousands of people have been helped, including elderly and sick people, pregnant women and children.

The Cyber Warriors also set up the ‘Kerala Flood Rescue Facilitating Group’ on Facebook, a platform to bring together those in need of help and those offering it. In the three weeks since it was created there have been over 2,000 posts and the group has almost 1000 members, an astonishing achievement.

Dr Janice Proud, Anglican Alliance Relief Manager, has been in touch with the affected dioceses. “We have been praying for the people of Kerala affected by the floods and landslides,” Janice said, “particularly after the situation escalated, increasing the areas affected and the number of people stranded and being displaced.

“We have been impressed to read of the strong response by the Indian people, agencies and government – and also to see the engagement of the local church in the response. In particular we were struck by the young CSI Cyber Warriors setting up the rescue help line. It is such an innovative response, which uses the skills and talents of the young people and which has provided a means for anxious families and friends to know that their loved ones are safe. Let’s give thanks for them and continue to pray for these young people who have helped so selflessly and resourcefully.”

We continue to hold in prayer all those affected by the devastating floods; for those working tirelessly to get essential supplies to those in need; for the displaced sheltering in temporary shelters, particularly those who don’t have a home to return to. We remember also those who have lost loved ones, have been injured, have lost their homes or been displaced. We pray that the most vulnerable will be at the centre of rehabilitation process.

Please also consider donating to support the relief response and longer term rehabilitation. Many agencies are supporting the response in Kerala including:

Episcopal Relief & Development

Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund

Anglican Overseas Aid


Christian Aid