White-haired “Natho” was weeping when he went to his local church to plead for food for himself, his wife and two daughters. The whole family used to work as agricultural labourers for a rich landowner, but when floods destroyed the crops they lost their daily wages. Their own house also was wrecked.
A third of Pakistan is under water. The most devastating monsoon for decades has brought flooding on an unprecedented scale, affecting some 33 million people. Amongst them are Christians, a small and vulnerable minority in Pakistan. Even worse is expected when the swollen waters of the river Indus in the north have flowed down south to add to the existing floods in Sindh.
A report sent to Barnabas Aid on 31 August from Christian leaders in Sindh described people living in the open air without any shelter. Some have eaten nothing for days and to drink they have only the dangerously contaminated flood water. Mosquito-borne and water-borne diseases are escalating. Some people have been bitten by snakes. Roads and bridges have been damaged, cutting off whole areas. Health services are badly affected.
Some families are camping beside roads, which are usually built on higher ground than the surrounding fields. Others have gone to stay with relatives, most of whom are so poor already that they can barely feed themselves, let alone the newcomers.
The infrastructure of the churches in Sindh and southern Punjab has been seriously affected. The Christian hospital in Tank has asked for help to restore their flood-damaged building and facilities.
“Arjun” teaches in a school supported by Barnabas Aid. It has been destroyed and his house has been severely damaged. Most of the other families in his village earn a living working in other people’s fields. Without work or wages because of the floods, they have not eaten properly for the last two weeks. None of them has received any support from the government or from any other sources.
Will you help?
Costs are changing all the time, but here are some estimates:
£2.50 ($3; €3) Mosquito net (one per family)
£20 ($24; €24) Emergency family food package to last 25-30 days
£28 ($32; €32) 20 plastic sheets for temporary shelters (one per family)
£50 ($60; €60) Suggested donation towards repairing and restoring Tank Christian Hospital
£385 ($445; €445) Repairing a partly damaged home
£770 ($890; €890) Rebuilding a completely destroyed home