“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.
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