Hyderabad (Fides Service) – “People have no access to clean water. In the villages where people are mainly Catholic tribals, pepople are dying and the harvests are scorched. But also here in the capital Hyderabad we are without water. The situation is very serious. We are waiting for the Monsoon like a blessing from God”. This is the alarm sounded by Archbishop Joji Marampudi of Hyderabad, capital of Andra Pradesh state devastated by the abnormal heat wave which has struck southern India. More than 1,250 have already died of heart failure or dehydration, while temperatures sore to 52 degree Celsius. Many of the dead were workers who went to work despite terrible heat so as not to lose their daily pay.
Many have taken refuge from the heat in temples, churches and mosques. Archbishop Marampudi tells Fides Service: “Our diocesan Caritas office has formed a team of volunteers, catechists, teachers and young people, to carry water and other relief aid to the most affected villages. But supplies are running out. We have received donations totalling 4,000 dollars and we have organised water distribution. But we can do little to meet the great needs. Relief aid organised by local civil authorities is also insufficient.”
The Archbishop says: “the lack of clean water kills people now but it will also mean serious later difficulties in the fields with a negative effect on the next harvest. We call for more substantial aid from Caritas India and appeal for help from Catholic communities and Caritas organisations all over the world. Large sectors of the population are subsistence farmers and their future is at risk. PA (Fides Service 5/6/2003 EM lines 27 Words: 293)