AN appeal for aid for the victims of the floods in West Bengal early this month has been made by Archbishop Picachy of Calcutta, Si.
In a letter to Bishop Holland of Salford enclosing the appeal. Archbishop Picachy says: "The people of India who have settled in Britain would surely help us in this crisis.
"It is a calamity which has never been witnessed before in such a large sector of West Bengal. Many of our priests, sisters and brothers. aided by generous laymen, are still at work in the flooded areas."
The appeal for the Archbishop's Relief Fund says: "Some years ago the World Health Organisation forewarned the civic authorities that Calcutta could sink under its own sewage. These words were almost realised in early September when nearly every street in the city was inundated for hours, and in sonic places for days, in knee-deep• water, Eighteen inches of rain fell in three days. September 2-4. It was more than the city could take.
"The first newsflash spoke of 30.000 being evacuated from low-lying flooded city areas. The next day the number rose to 300.000. The worst affected areas were those which are normally handicapped by inadequate housing and lack of civic amenities. This is where the poor live.
RICE CROPS SUBMERGED
"Telecommunications snapped. Rail services came to an almost complete halt. Public transport was off the roads. Six districts of West Bengal were badly hit by floods. These six are located in the territory of Calcutta Archdiocese. . . . Villages and promising rice crops were submerged. Mud huts collapsed. Rivers were in spate ,and irrigation embankments crumbled in several places.
"While providing immediate help it will he the main purpose of this Fund to supply help when the work of rehabilitation begins. Houses are to he rebuilt. Medicines and clothes are to be distributed. Where crops have failed agricultural loans will he given.
"The Archbishop's Fund has been established to help in this hour of trial. The beneficiaries will belong to all communities. No distinction whatever will be made. I appeal to all men of good will to be generous in sending cash gifts. medicine and clothing to: Archbishop's Relief Fund. Archbishop's House, 32 Park Street, Calcutta 16. India.