by Rachel Godwin
When Jithiya arrived at the makeshift shelter, her 5-year-old son Aiden was covered in sores. As he was climbing into the boat that had rescued them from their submerged home, a log floating through the water bumped against Aiden’s small leg and a swarm of biting ants crawled all over him.
The small boat was already overfilled with around 25 people, and any sudden movements would have capsized them all. It broke Jithiya’s heart, but she told her little boy that he couldn’t swat the ants away. He couldn’t even scratch. Aiden had to bite his lip as the tiny creatures basically ate him alive.
Anxious thoughts flooded Jithiya’s mind, similar to the monsoon rain that fell just hours earlier. As a mother of two, she found herself stuck in a shelter swelling with people who also lost their homes and possessions. She had children she must protect and provide for on her own. But her main priority was finding medical attention for Aiden so his ant bites wouldn’t become infected.
Kerala state in southern India has been hit by the worst floods the region has experienced in over a century. Around 1.2 million people have been displaced. Houses are filled with up to three feet of mud and debris. Damage estimates have skyrocketed to more than $3 billion.
Our partners on the ground are working around the clock distributing supplies to flood victims. They have personally taken in many people, including pregnant women, children, and the elderly. They still desperately need more food, clean water, medicine, toiletries, and dry clothing and bedding to serve these people and the surrounding community.
Children like Aiden now need urgent medical attention — not only to keep the bites from becoming infected, but to prevent worse injuries and illnesses from mutating into something deadly. The flooding also has exposed many people to waterborne diseases.
As families wonder how they will get through this tragedy, we have the opportunity to help answer that question. This is a moment when we can respond to their suffering as we wish others would respond during our times of hardship. Organizations like ours — World Help — have deployed their emergency response programs to meet the needs of people who have been devastated by Kerala’s disastrous floods. And we are serving everyone, regardless of faith, economic status or background.
I hope you will join us in our work. Together, we can help them rebuild and flood Kerala with love and aid.