By Shamim Masih BPCA correspondent in Islamabad
Incessant rains have killed hundreds of people and damaged thousands of houses throughout Pakistan. Over 500 roads have been submerged and the last body count, which is by no means accurate, suggest at least 340 people have been killed.
Since 9th September persistent rains and the release of water from dams in India have brought great suffering on Christian communities. I visited three local flood ravaged areas to assess the needs of innocent victims, left destitute.
Many Christian slum areas have been completely washed out. In the main, Christians reside in the flood plains where land is cheap and inhospitable. The rain has affected people of all faiths, but the impact has been felt most by deprived Christian communities.
Hundreds of the houses in Rawalpindi district have been ruined due to the seasonal drainage from India and river flooding. More than fifty houses in Sharoon Colony, Rawalpindi have become derelict after the swelling of the Sawan River. Other houses in Iqbal Town, Islamabad have suffered a similar fate due to inundation of the Korang nala.
38 houses in Sharoon colony are completely destroyed and around 15 partially damaged. Christian houses in Bathanaik Alam and Committee Chowk were full of water and the entire household contents have been destroyed.
The innocent victims of this latest disaster have called for aid. Items they are seeking include food, clean water (as wells have been contaminated), clothes, mattresses and medicines. The area is known for a large number of Dengue fever infections, and fear of this illness is rife in the local community, due to a number of villagers showing symptoms of the disease.
Whilst visiting the disaster area I noticed dilapidated houses that have now become uninhabitable. Mattresses and clothes, in fact entire content of homes are literally strewn across the land.
Crops have been destroyed, stored food washed away and many farm animals that would have supported poorer families have been killed. The situation has become extremely dire.
Absence of adequate dams for storage of excess water, along with deforestation and substandard construction of infrastructure – partly due to rampant corruption in the past years, have contributed to excessive damage.
Wilson Chowdhry chair of the BPCA said;
“The victims of this latest inundation desperately need our help. Overnight people have lost their homes, livelihoods and all their personal possessions. In the UK we are generally insured for our losses or can count on government support to get our feet back on the ground. For these innocent victims no such support exists.”
” Your prayers and financial support is vital to these communities and we urge people of good conscience to spare what they can to restore a semblance of normal life to these families.”
The BPCA has initiated a disaster recovery fund for victims of the flood. If you would like to contribute to our relief work our bank details are as follows:
Sort Code: 20-67-90 Account number: 63468976 Bank: Barclays
Ref: Pakistan Flood Appeal
Alternatively if you would like to send an immediate donation please use the pay-pal facility on the top right hand corner of our blog, or simply send a cheque made payable to the BPCA to our address; 57 Green Lane, Ilford, Essex, IG1 1XG.
With your support we hope to change the lives of millions of Christians in Pakistan.