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India’s Catholic Church appeals for contribution to Uttarakhand relief efforts



28 June, 2013 - The Catholic Church of India has appealed to its faithful and institutions to contribute generously to the relief efforts of the nation, grappling with a humanitarian disaster triggered by unprecedented floods in Uttarakhand state. Cardinal Oswald Gracias, president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of India (CBCI), made the appealed on Thursday urging contributions for the victims of the Uttarakhand floods, which the media has described as the “Himalayan Tsunami”. The cardinal, who is Archbishop of Bombay, reminded the nation’s Catholics about the call of the Gospel which does not allow us to be indifferent to the immense suffering the people in the affected areas are undergoing. “We need to extend total solidarity and support to enable the people of Uttarakhand to return back to normalcy,” he said. He noted that since the floods, triggered by heavy monsoon rains, local dioceses and Caritas India, the social arm of the Catholic Church of India, have been helping with the rescue efforts. Contributions may be sent to Caritas India, at the CBCI Centre in New Delhi. (Source: CBCI)

Below is the full text of Cardinal Oswald Gracias’ appeal:

28 June,2013

Your Eminence/Grace/Excellency, Rev. Father/Sister/Brother,
On behalf of the Church in India, I wish to make an earnest appeal to you to support the victims of the recent flood in Uttarakhand.
Uttarakhand saw over 60 hours of continuous and heavy rains from June 14th to 17th, 2013. The cloudburst and ensuing landslides has been described as a “Himalayan Tsunami”. Pictures on the television have been frightening with many houses washed away and buildings in the path of the flood waters collapsing like brittle clay-work. Our Defence Forces have played a magnificent role in battling hostile weather to rescue people and bring them to safety. Over 100,000 stranded people have been brought to safety in the mammoth on-going multi-agency operation and several hundreds still remain to be evacuated. The human toll has been immense, with the count of the dead increasing every hour.
Since the beginning of this disaster, local diocesan rescue teams and Caritas India have been present, helping with the rescue efforts. Besides the Government, numerous NGOs have been reaching out to people in distress. Caritas India has been interacting and networking with other NGOs in the relief effort. Based on the need-assessment, food, drinking water, clothes, medicines and face-masks have been distributed. There is need for huge support for the relief and rehabilitation work of the affected people.
The call of the Gospel does not allow us to be indifferent to the immense suffering the people in the affected areas are undergoing. With this letter, I am making an appeal to all our people and Institutions to join in the relief effort by contributing generously. We need to extend total solidarity and support to enable the people of Uttarakhand to return back to normalcy. Caritas India will coordinate all our efforts.
I am requesting that all Bishops, Major Superiors and Heads of Institutions make an appeal to our people to contribute generously. Contributions may be sent to Caritas India, CBCI Centre, 1 Ashok Place, Near Gole Dakhana, New Delhi 110001, either directly, or through the local Diocese.

With kind regards and best wishes,
Yours fraternally in Christ,

Oswald Cardinal Gracias
Archbishop of Bombay &
President – CBCI




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