South Asia Threatened by Cyclone & Pandemic

KOLKATA – Residents of West Bengal and the nation of Bangladesh have been battling the onslaught of the Coronavirus pandemic. The pandemic has paralyzed millions, confined to their homes without access to food, water, and medical supplies.

U.S. Joint Typhoon Warning Center: 33.6 million people in South Asia and another 5.3 million in Bangladesh are in danger of devastation by Cyclone Amphan.
Devastation left by Cyclone Sidr in Bangladesh.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to ravage South Asia as the number of cases increases rapidly. Just a few days ago, India passed China and Peru on countries with the highest number of cases of the virus. India is now one of only 11 countries reporting more than 100,000 cases. At the current rate, it may be less than a week before the nation surpasses Iran to rank in 10th place.

Right now, as the morning of May 20 approaches, government agencies, businesses, and NGOs are attempting to evacuate as many people as possible as the region braces for the onslaught of the strongest cyclone ever to hit the regions around the Bay of Bengal.

According to the U.S. Joint Typhoon Warning Center, 33.6 million people in India and another 5.3 million in Bangladesh are in danger of devastation by Cyclone Amphan. Potential storm damage capital exposure for these areas exceeds an estimated $270 billion U.S. dollars.

Cyclone Amphan officially became a “super cyclone” on Monday evening, May 18, with sustained winds in excess of 165 miles per hour. The last time a storm of similar magnitude hit this region was 1991. More than 100,000 lives were lost in Bangladesh alone.

The eye of the storm is projected to hit the islands off the shores of West Bengal at 8:00 am EDT, raging through Kolkata within several hours as it progresses northeasterly into Bangladesh at about 8:00 pm EDT Wednesday. Millions of survivors of the storm along the coastal regions will be in imminent danger as severe flooding swells the rivers that empty into the verdant lowlands and delta region.

Gospel for Asia (GFA), a world-leading FBO with ministry and humanitarian efforts focused in South Asia, has issued an Urgent Prayer Request for the people who live in the path of the storm – especially those on the Sundarbans islands.

… the people are all living in simple mud houses, and the church buildings are made of bamboo. They could all be blown apart instantly. We have several GFA Bridge of Hope centers there as wellIf it hits at the rate it’s coming now, West Bengal, Bangladesh, and Odisha will be completely devastated.”

Meanwhile, Gospel for Asia (GFA)-supported churches “are ready with whatever means to respond to the crisis, helping to rescue stranded people and bring relief to those who will lose everything.”

Please join with other readers to pray now for God’s protection for those who are presently in the cyclone’s path. Pray also for the rescue and relief efforts following the storm.

Read more news on South Asia and the Coronavirus Crisis on Missions Box.

GFA’s Statement About Coronavirus

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