Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Pakistan Floods What to do?

A lot of concern has been raised by the torrential rain and extensive floods in Pakistan. It is estimated that over 1,500 have died and 14 million people directly affected by the disaster.

Thousands of square miles of agricultural land have been inundated with flood water and many villages washed away. We are familiar with the effects of flooding from film of localised floods in Britain – dirty water, an all-pervasive smell of decay and difficulties in getting help as roads and bridges are washed away. The monsoon season is not due to end until mid-September.

David spoke about his language teacher’s family having to pull dead bodies from the trees by their family home, which is in ruins.

Aamir, the CMS country consultant in Pakistan, has been busy helping facilitate requests for help and enabling some of the small churches to effectively help those affected. This week he is helping to assist people in one of the worst affected area, Charsadda.

Dr Haroon informs that the Kunhar Christian Hospital in the north of the country has seen more patients suffering from water-borne diseases. There are fears of an epidemic of cholera and other diseases as people are surrounded by dirty water.

CMS is helping the PMS to provide relief in the north and in northern Punjab. Adeel leads this work and has asked for your prayers.

Food and fuel prices in Pakistan have rocketed in the last few days, affecting everyone.

Nigel has been seconded to Tearfund to help co-ordinate their relief programmes delivered through local partner organisations. He will be based in Sindh where the flood surge and heavy rain has begun to cause flooding and loss of homes. The situation there is expected to get a lot worse in the next few days as the river bursts its banks.

Christians in Pakistan want to share the love of God and express their own commitment to support those who have suffered losses in the affected areas. Even though many Christians have menial jobs and low pay they are providing resources to help others who are suddenly even worse off. The Diocese of Hyderabad is preparing to respond to need and has asked for prayers.

What’s to do?

CMS is not in a position to provide massive financial aid but there are three things that we can do.

  1. keep up to date with news of the situation. The CMS website is providing information and links to news reports, including photos.
  2. use the information to pray for people in Pakistan and for those providing relief.
  3. express support through giving towards the cost of providing urgently needed food, clean water and shelter and the future reconstruction of homes and livelihoods. You can give CMS giving website to the work of CMS partner organisation, working in the north of Pakistan PMS (Ref P.PK025) Or to other relief work across the country through CMS partners (Ref P.PK029.)

Jane, based in Hyderabad, puts things into context. She reminded us that God is in control regardless of how it looks. She refers to the Celtic Christians sailing their flimsy boats, quoting an excerpt from St Columba’s journeys: “ when the stormy waters have denied their progress they labour’d on. They sang that heaven might hear. Their song was mightier ….while the strugglers sang, demons took flight and angel trumpets rang, opening men’s weary hearts in regions wild…….awed they hung on words so new, so welcome.”

Her prayer was: May the Lord enable His people in Pakistan in the midst of the storm to bring words of hope.

based on letter sent to churches by John Hayward, CMS

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