Church Calls For Aid To Flood Victims In Pakistan

Church Calls For Aid To Flood Victims In Pakistan
At a time when Pakistan is facing devastating floods, the Church leaders have called on Christians and the international community to pray and help those affected in the crisis situation.

Pakistan has been witnessing floods since last July, caused by the heavy and regular monsoon rains that fall every year. But the amount of rain this year is unprecedented. The situation worsened in mid-August, and more rain is still falling in some parts of the country.

In this situation, Cardinal Joseph Coutts, emeritus Archbishop of Karachi, appealed to the international community to provide humanitarian assistance to the flood victims. Speaking in a video message, issued by Caritas, he said, "We are doing what we can, but we can only do it with your help."

Archbishop Dr. Joseph Arshad of Islamabad-Rawalpindi, president of the Pakistan Catholic Bishops’ Conference, appealed to the Christian community to show solidarity with their brothers and sisters who are suffering from the floods.

According to the National Disaster Management Authority and other relief agencies, about 70 percent of the land has been flooded, and some 33 million people have been affected directly or indirectly. Also, more than 1,300 people were killed and about 13,000 were injured. More than 1.6 million homes were damaged, and more than 800,000 head of livestock disappeared.

Church leaders say many Christians have also been affected. A number of churches, parish buildings and church-run schools were also affected by rain and the floods. Churches are collecting cash, rations, tents, medicine, food, clothes and bedding though relief camps in different cities. Ashkenaz Khokaher, a social worker from Sahiwal, told Friday Times that churches have started campaigns to collect donations in different areas. "We will soon visit the flood-affected areas and distribute food parcels there," he added.

Besides government agencies and other charities, churches are actively involved in relief work. In this regard, Dominican Father Iftikhar Moon OP from Bahawalpur told Friday Times: “We have started collecting food and other essential items, and soon they will be distributed to the affected people via Caritas.”

Action Against Poverty, a charity based in Multan, started relief work in the district of Fazilpur, south of Punjab. Sarfraz Clement who heads the organisation told Friday Times, "We have set up relief and aid camps for effected people without any religious discrimination."

The situation in Pakistan is catastrophic as there is a lot of destruction due to flood water. Infrastructure, roads and bridges were destroyed, even a number of small dams were damaged, and people lost their crops, homes and animals.

Rural areas are mainly affected by this situation, but many cities are also experiencing urban flooding. The poor are disproportionately affected because they are struggling to find food and shelter.

The government is doing its best, but the humanitarian needs in the country are growing. The military also works alongside government agencies to rescue people and provide food and shelter to flood victims. The Catholic and Protestant churches work with the local government to reach more affected people. Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif stated that it would take at least 5 years to rebuild the country.

Along with other international leaders, Pope Francis also called on the international community to help Pakistan.

Aftab Alexander Mughal is the editor at Minority Concern Pakistan and a former executive secretary of the Justice and Peace Commission of Pakistan. He can be reached via