In the wake of deadly flooding in the Indian state of Kerala, Canadians with ties to the region fear for friends and relatives left stranded by the disaster that’s been called the worst in the country’s history.
More than 300 people have died this week in the wake of the flooding, officials said, and more than 800,000 have been displaced by the floods and landslides that are a result of heavy rains that began on Aug. 8.
“No one was prepared for this,” said Prasad Nair, president of the Mississauga Kerala Association, located west of Toronto. “Most people have lost everything that they have.”
Nair, who came to Canada from Kerala in 2003, said one of his relatives saw his house fully submerged in water and had to stay on the roof for two days before being rescued.
“The house that I lived in during my childhood has been fully submerged in water for five days,” said Nair, 47.
WATCH: A team of divers provided relief and aid supplies to flood-hit victims in the most inaccessible parts of Kerala
The international community needs to understand what’s happening in Kerala because the state will need help, he said.
“Most of us here are Canadians and we will always be a part of Canada, but a part of us belongs there too.”
Nair said the association will continue to fundraise for the disaster, but urged the Canadian government to pledge to donate, especially to rebuild, as officials estimate over 10,000 kilometres of roads have been damaged.
“We are working really hard to get an appointment with the PM’s office,” he said. “But we have not heard anything back from him yet.”
“Canada has the technology, ability and experience in these kinds of disaster operations,” he said.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Twitter Saturday that he sends his deepest condolences to those affected, and a spokesperson for Global Affairs did not immediately respond to requests for comment.