Devastated by powerful Phailin, desperate families along India’s eastern coast receive relief from our local partners.
Samaritan’s Purse recently provided emergency relief through our local partners in India to several hundred families affected by Cyclone Phailin, which pounded India’s eastern coast on October 12.
The country’s most powerful cyclone in 14 years, the storm packed winds of more than 120 miles per hour as it made landfall in Odisha (formerly Orissa) state. There were relatively few casualties, but there likely would have been more deaths had not approximately 1 million people moved to shelters and government buildings in anticipation of the event—the largest evacuation in India’s history. Nonetheless, winds and flooding left 600,000 people homeless and many thousands marooned.
Samaritan’s Purse partners distributed relief supplies in Jesus’ Name in the states of Odisha and West Bengal. In Odisha, families received 55 pounds of food items, enough to sustain four people for 15 days. Rice, beans, tea, cooking oil, curry powders, and sugar were among staples included in the packages. In West Bengal, people received potatoes, mosquito repellant, a bathing bucket, cooking oil, and other important items.
Parts of Odisha were severely damaged by Phailin’s fury, making access difficult. Roads were nearly impassable and the relief truck was involved in a major accident. In one area, many mud homes had collapsed walls and roofs; in another village, houses were completely washed away.
“It was some of the most impoverished places we’ve ever been,” said a team member. Some beneficiaries cried with relief as they gratefully received the staples.
In addition, the Odisha team experienced significant spiritual opposition. Angry Hindu militants complained to authorities about their activities, and the group was subsequently detained for 30 hours. However, many other Hindu residents who received relief from our Christian partner testified to the police about the good work being done.
Once the team was finally released, there were no further incidents. They are now safely in another part of India. “But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed” (1 Peter 3:14a, NKJV).
Please give thanks for God’s strong hand of deliverance, and pray for continued courage and boldness for the local church leaders with whom our partners worked. Pray also for everyone affected along India’s coast as they rebuild their lives after the storm—may they rebuild on the Rock.