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Pakistan: In need of international aid, solidarity

A church in Pakistan in recent floods (Photo supplied)

Last month, after the Mass in L'Quila, a city in central Italy, Pope Francis appealed to the people of Pakistan, hit by devastating flooding. During the Angelus, he called the situation a "harsh calamity.”  

Showing his closeness to the flood victims in Pakistan, the Holy Father said, "The international solidarity might be prompt and generous."

The devastating floods started in Balochistan and Sindh, and now Khyber Pakhtoon Khawan is also facing terrible floods. This flood situation has been declared by the Government of Pakistan as a "State of Emergency."

The catastrophic floods have killed more than 1000 people, leaving more than 6 million people in need of humanitarian aid.

Archbishop Joseph Arshad, chairman of the Pakistan Catholic Bishops’ Conference, appealed to the whole nation to help the flood victims who are suffering a great loss of lives, houses, property, crops, and livestock.

"It is a time to make them feel that we stand by them and that they are not left alone in this critical situation. It is a time to show our solidarity to the flood victims and help them generously," said the Archbishop of Islamabad-Rawalpindi, Pakistan.

Caritas Pakistan chairman, Archbishop Benny Travas of Karachi, said, "The climate catastrophe that resulted in devastating floods in the country has caused a state of emergency and we need to respond quickly to save lives and restore hope to the countless people who have lost everything."

He gave instructions to the Caritas Pakistan National Team to help people by providing them with tents, food, clothes, and medicine on a priority basis. He also urged the donors to provide financial help for the flood victims.

Then, Bishop Samson Shukar Din of Hyderabad Diocese (Pakistan) pleaded with government officials, church leaders, NGOs, friends, and benefactors to help the flood victims.

"It is a time to show our closeness to the flood victims," he added. 

Bishop Khalid Rehmat, Vicar Apostolic of Quetta, Pakistan, has expressed his deepest sympathies for the flood victims, saying, "Sibi and Lora Lai have been terribly affected."

The flood victims in Nawan Kili have been provided with shelter at St. Eugene Catholic Church. 

A church in Hyderabad, Pakistan

The Catholic priests and Caritas Quetta are helping people with food items. Balochistan is the largest, geographically, province of Pakistan with no infrastructure or planning to handle and manage the flood disaster.

He appealed to donors to help the flood victims who have lost everything.

Aslam Masih, one of the flood victims from Quetta, expressed his grief by saying, "We have lost our house, clothes, furniture, and livestock, practically everything. We are thankful to the Catholic priests who stand by us and are helping us."

Parveen Bibi, from the region of Sibi, said, "All my savings have been swept away. We are living in the church building and the priests and other people are giving us food to eat."

Caritas Pakistan, the social development wing of the Catholic Bishops in Pakistan, is seeking support to help the flood victims.

Caritas Pakistan has been providing its humanitarian services in the country for more than 50 years. And in the last decade, Pakistan experienced major disasters, and Caritas Pakistan emergency response teams had a very significant role in assisting the victims of different crises.

Pakistan is experiencing a very huge flood disaster throughout the country.

According to Caritas Pakistan, thousands of people are homeless and in need. Evacuation is getting more difficult. A man lost his whole family in flooding. People have lost everything and need rescue.

The vulnerable are suffering the most. Livestock loss increases the food crisis as well. Flood victims need urgent humanitarian assistance. Road and bridge destruction caused connectivity issues along with the loss of homes, livelihoods, and belongings. Residential areas are submerged. This is the worst flood as compared to the super flood of 2010, reports Caritas Pakistan.

Caritas Pakistan has sent its emergency response teams to all the Catholic diocesan offices and they are joining the diocesan teams. And they are conducting assessments and field visits to flood-affected areas. They are also meeting with the district officials and the different organizations in the affected areas just to enhance the coordination mechanism for a comprehensive emergency relief phase.

Caritas Pakistan started its response in July to the flood-affected people, especially in urban flooding in Karachi and then in Kahuta, a city in the Rawalpindi District of Punjab Province, Pakistan.

Heavy monsoon rains in Pakistan have washed away homes and affected millions of people as a result of heavy monsoon rains. Over 1,000 people have been killed, with the figure expected to rise.

"Rain and floods have been catastrophic for millions of people, and we urgently need global support and solidarity for Pakistan in these trying times," said UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees is in Pakistan. Tens of thousands of emergency shelters and relief items are being distributed to refugees, displaced people, and host communities in the worst-affected areas of Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces, as well as sandbags, to protect homes from further damage.

A large amount of assistance is urgently required so that refugees and local communities in Pakistan can receive emergency assistance such as shelter, household supplies, and blankets.

UNHCR, other NGOs, churches, and governments are mobilizing resources and personnel to increase their assistance in Pakistan to local communities and refugees in flood-ravaged areas. - Iram Imran 


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