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In northern India, ADRA distributes supplies in wake of widespread flooding

In nearby state, earthquake damages homes, church; Wilson offers encouragement

The humanitarian arm of the Seventh-day Adventist Church is responding in the wake of monsoon rains that have flooded wide stretches of northern India, killing at least 80 people since August.

Flood waters collapsed mud huts and stranded hundreds of thousands of people in recent days.

The Adventist Development and Relief Agency is providing clean water, sanitation and hygiene supplies, focusing on two districts in the state of Orissa, which has seen the most damage. While the water is beginning to recede, rains continue in these districts and the threat of water-born diseases and malaria outbreaks remains high, ADRA India reported.

While ADRA India's initial response was hampered by heavy rains and muddy conditions, officials were able to distribute supplies before access was affected by a second round of flooding.

ADRA India reported that hundreds of thousands of people have been evacuated to higher ground to escape the floodwaters in low-lying areas. More than 2,700 villages have been affected, with more than 300 square miles of cultivated land submerged. Reports indicate that schools in severely affected areas are closed until floodwaters recede.

Meanwhile, Adventists in northeast India said members were affected when a 6.9-magnitude earthquake struck the northern state of Sikkim near the border with Nepal last month.

Landslides blocking roads and electricity interruptions have made it impossible to contact many members, said Gordon Christo, secretary for the church's Southern Asia Division. Reports so far indicate that many homes and at least one church incurred damage, he said.

Adventist world church President Ted N. C. Wilson offered words of encouragement to members in India.

"May God guide each of you and your colleagues during this difficult time as the church and its agencies assess how best to help those in this situation," Wilson said in an email response to Christo.

For information on ADRA's continuing response in India, visit