A Hindu celebration meant to welcome in a new year in the southern Indian state of Kerala turned deadly in early April when a single firecracker fell into a pyrotechnic storage area and ignited the large inventory there.
The resulting explosion and fire killed an estimated 107 persons, burned hundreds more and collapsed part of a Hindu temple. Concrete debris from the explosion caused many of the injuries.
“There were body parts on the floor and on the roof there was an arm,” Anita Prakash, a resident said as reported by Reuters. “In the past, there’s been fireworks but not on this scale.”
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi went to the site in Kerala with doctors to assist state authorities. “The fire at the temple in Kollam is heart-rending and shocking beyond words,” he said in a Twitter post. “My thoughts are with families of the deceased and prayers with the injured.”
In solidarity with the victims, Delhi-headquartered Believer’s Church, a Christian denomination with congregations worldwide, said it is mobilizing its medical team with specialized doctors from its Tiruvalla Hospital to aid in relief operations. K P Yohannan, Metropolitan of Believers Church said, “We will do everything in our power to help the bereaved families and provide timely medical assistance to those who have been injured.”
The Church said it is willing to provide free treatment to the sufferers at its hospital about 20 miles from Kollam.
Investigations since the disaster indicate that local authorities never granted a permit for the storage of the pyrotechnics. Hinduism is the predominant religion in India and is polytheistic.
Pray for the recovery of surviving victims of the temple fire in Kerala.