Tallahassee man helps family displaced by historic flooding in India

Posted at 4:30 PM, Aug 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-22 06:36:59-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - Historic flooding in India has killed more than 350 people and displaced 800,000 people during a heavy monsoon season.

It's the worst flooding to hit the country's southern state of Kerala in about a century.

The situation hits home for a Tallahassee man who grew up in Kerala. Flemion Shafeeq said he's thankful his family is safe, but says they almost weren't.

"The property is lost, but at least they were able to move out," he said. "God helped in that."

His in-laws decided to run as water started seeping into their house.

"They didn't take anything," Shafeeq said. "They just left the home just like that." They're one of thousands in Kerala who don't have a house anymore.

"The complete roof fell off, and then, if people were there, it would have been a major disaster for my family."

Shafeeq got back from a trip to Kerala last week. He said he never thought the water would get so high.

"I had to actually drive through some water, got really scared," said Shafeeq. "We had to move around, go through different routes."

Kerala is about the size of Maryland but has roughly the same population as California.

It's more than 9,000 miles away from Tallahassee, but Shafeeq says Floridians can relate to what's happening.

"We have the hurricane season, and we know about the damage which the water or the rain can cause."

Shafeeq and his wife are raising money to send back to India. He said his relatives have been crying for help over the phone.

"When something happens to my family, it is really, what do you say, breaking all my heart," said Shafeeq.

Most people who live in Kerala only make about $150 a month. Shafeeq said even the smallest donation will help his home state recover.

"When we are speaking about a developing country where they don't have enough infrastructure to rebound, I think a nation like America should help."

To help donate to the Government of Kerala's official relief efforts, click HERE.