Rushing to the Rescue: A True Story from the Kerala Floods

KERALA, INDIA – No one can comprehend the terror of a major flood until they have been personally affected by one. This is especially true of those who lose their homes, their possessions, and their loved ones to raging waters that cannot be contained.

This writer has been at the sites of four floods over thirty-years, having seen homes completely submerged, roads obliterated, bridges moved off of their foundations, and people trapped on high ground by the raging waters below. I’ve seen eyes that once sparkled turned to empty stares as they now realize that “all is lost” and face a frighteningly fearful future.

When the flood waters have receded, the immediate disaster is over, but the incomprehensible devastation is now revealed to heavy hearts that mourn their losses and wonder how and if they will ever recover.

During and after a flood, something else is revealed – the profiles of the concerned and courageous who provide help to the helpless and hope to those who have lost what hope they once had.

Kerala has experienced its worst flooding in a century. Recovery efforts are coming together as government, humanitarian, and faith-based organizations work hand in hand to aid the survivors. But, lest we forget, some people would not be listed among the survivors unless someone had come to their rescue during the height of the crisis.

This is one of those stories, originally published by on August 21st.

A college student had been trying desperately, but unsuccessfully to reach his mother-in-law who had become trapped by the rising flood waters.

“I tried all the contacts for rescue team numbers as well even driving myself if at all possible.

“But the flooded lakes and rivers were overflowing bridges, so I gave up and came back to [the] college.

“So, I gave a call to a [Gospel for Asia-supported] church. Immediately they arranged a 10-member team with a tractor and jeep to collect . . . families in distress.

“We toiled eight hours in total. The vehicle got jammed. For almost two hours we were all in neck [and] chest-deep floodwaters trying to get the tractor back onto the main road opposite the flow. It was total chaos, people being pushed around in tubes, families confined to their . . . terraces.

“It became like Noah’s time when floods destroyed all.

“[When] we reached the main road, by God’s grace, [we] crossed seven bridges with rivers overflowing, extracted mother and neighbor and a 9-year-old kid. God saved us all in these floods.”

I am sure that stories like this abound in the Kerala region. We will continue to share as more stories emerge. We will provide updates on what will be a lengthy recovery process so that readers will remember to pray for those who have escaped the flood but face a future where faith will be needed to face each new day.


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