(Photo by Sanish Cherian/Twitpic_
Pakistan (MNN) ― The United Nations warned of a "second wave of death" in flood-stricken Pakistan as aid agencies struggle to raise money to help the 20 million people hit by the nation's worst-ever natural disaster.
This comes as a new wave of floods was seen making its way south into Sindh province along the Indus river, adding to the flooding disaster that has ravaged the country for more than two weeks.
Pakistan's envoy to the United Nations, Zamir Akram, warned that the future could hold food security problems, high unemployment, and poverty. According to his estimates, it could take five years to fix the $2.5 billion worth of damage caused by the floods.
If the UN's $460 million doesn't come through quickly enough, people who survived the initial flash floods and landslides won't survive the secondary threat of waterborne diseases and food shortages. The World Bank pledged $900 million to aid Pakistan, but they're racing against time.
Wayne deJong, with the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee, says, "We're reaching out to about 8,000 families, roughly 60,000 people, to provide them with food (wheat flour, cooking oil, lentils, sugar, salt, and spices) for two months, and also tents, mosquito nets, kitchen sets, cooking fuel and hygiene kits."
Their team brings another dimension to food and water. They're also bringing a cup of cold water in Jesus' name. deJong says, "We see this as a way to demonstrate the love of Christ to people in need, an opportunity to help meet those needs and connect to people who are really having a great struggle to survive."
There's danger from the Taliban that still stalks the disaster survivors. The team is aware that accusations of proselytism could jeopardize their response. That's why they're partnering with the Interfaith League Against Poverty (ILAP), based in Islamabad.
ILAP has a long history with the Pakistan people. Last year, the CRWRC, with ILAP, conducted a three-month relief program to provide emergency food aid to 2,000 internally displaced families who were fleeing violence between military forces and insurgents in Malakand, Swat, and the NorthWest Frontier Province.
In 2010, CRWRC has committed $2.3 million to the immediate future, focused in Nowshera and Charsadda Districts. But it's slow going. Compassion fatigue is setting in, and the funds are not coming in as quickly as they had hoped.
The sheer scale of the damage left by the water means that other problems are still on the horizon. deJong says it won't be over in just a couple of months. "The agricultural heartland of Pakistan has been significantly flooded. There is a very serious loss of crops. If the winter wheat can't be planted in September, then in effect we'll have a loss of two staple harvests. And that's going to have a huge impact on the country. There will be significant food shortages and food price increases."
Pray for wisdom and safety for the team. ILAP is partnering with many other aid groups who also bring the hope of Jesus. There are details on how you can help here.