28 National News

posted Aug 21, 2018, 11:13 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Aug 21, 2018, 11:14 AM ]

New Challenges after floods

As rescue operations in Kerala entered the final stages on Aug. 20, the biggest challenge before the authorities in the flood aftermath turned into managing the over 5,500 relief camps housing more than 7,00,000 people across the state.

The weather looked promising with no major rainfall expected in the state. Many people continued to wait for rescue to arrive in several parts of Ernakulam district and interior Chengannur in Alappuzha district.

The death toll stands at 370, from May 29 when Kerala got the first of the monsoon rains, with the bulk of the fatalities being reported after August 9. A tragedy of unprecedented proportion gripped the state after sluice gates of several rain-filled dams had to be opened.

On Aug. 20, helicopters started rescue operations in places where people still remained marooned. Several other helicopters transported food and relief materials.

Some people trapped in water-logged Kuttanadu in Alappuzha had refused to board the rescue boats. A lot of persuasion was required from the police teams to bring them to relief camps.


CBCI presence at former PM’s last rites

The Catholic Bishops' Conference of India was represented at the last rites of former Prime Minister Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee by Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas, Secretary General, CBCI and Fr Jervis D'Souza, Deputy Secretary General, CBCI.

It was a rare honour and privilege to get a very good close-up of the last rites of Mr Vajpayee. The entire service was marked with dignity and solemnity. The President, the Prime Minister and only a few important dignitaries were permitted to lay wreaths at the coffin.


AICU mourns lives lost in Kerala, Karnataka

"With a heavy heart and rising alarm, the All India Catholic Union noted the tragedy in Kerala and parts of Karnataka, with floods taking a heavy toll on human life. It calls on Prime Minister Narendra Modi to declare this once-in-a-century floods a national disaster, and to immediately release the funds and material help demanded by the state governments to cope with the calamitous situation in most parts of the coastal states." The AICU said this in resolutions passed in the Working Committee and Annual General Meeting held in the pilgrim town of Vailankanni in Tamil Nadu. Vailankanni, home to the Marian Shrine of Our Lady of Good Health, which was devastated in the 2004 tsunami, once again draws pilgrims from all faiths.


Church urges prayers, donations for Kerala

In the wake of massive floods in Kerala, the Roman Catholic Church in Goa urged its flock to offer prayers as well as donations for those affected by the natural calamity in Kerala.

"In this hour of pain, we need to reach out to our brothers and sisters in distress, not only through our prayer, but also materially... The Church in Goa would like to express its solidarity and sympathy with the thousands of people who have lost their homes and other possessions," Archbishop of Goa Filipe Neri Ferrao said in a circular.


Rs 20 crore flood aid

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis announced an emergency financial aid of Rs 20 crore plus food and other essentials for the flood hit victims of Kerala on Aug. 18. The government, in collaboration with various agencies and NGOs, will make arrangements for food and other items of daily need for the flood victims.

A consignment of six tonnes was despatched to Kerala on Aug. 18, while another five tonnes will follow shortly.

Realtors, umbrella bodies, MCHI and CREDAI have contributed foodgrains worth Rs 1.50 crore, while the Rajasthani Welfare Association and JITO have extended help of Rs 51 lakh each.


New Director of PMS

Fr Ambrose Pitchaimuthu (51) from the diocese of Chingelput, Tamil Nadu has been appointed as the National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS), India.

The previous National Director, Fr Faustine Lobo from the diocese of Mangalore, completed his five-year term of office. The PMS in India operates under the Proclamation Commission of the CCBI, with its headquarters in Bangalore. Bishop Raphy Manjaly of Allahabad is the Chairman of the CCBI Commission for Proclamation.

Fr Ambrose was born on May 3, 1966 at Cheyur, Tamil Nadu and ordained a priest on March 25, 1993. He holds a Master’s degree in Philosophy from the Catholic University, Leuven and a doctorate in philosophy from Angelicum, Rome. He served as assistant parish priest in San Thome Cathedral, Chennai and St Francis Xavier Church, Pallavaram.