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Published on 17 August, 2010

Aid comes slowly to many flood survivors

Pakistan (MNN) — Pakistan's worst floods in recorded
history began more than two weeks ago in the northwest but have since spread
throughout the country.

More rain is on its way, which will only worsen conditions
for the 20 million people–about one-fifth of the country–who has been
affected.

The scale of the crisis
threatens to derail tenuous peace efforts to stabilize the country against
Islamist extremists.

The United Nations has appealed for an initial $460 million
to provide relief, 60-percent of which has made it to the coffers.

"Ahmed" is a partner working with Global Aid Network to
address the crisis. He spoke to us from Islamabad,
Pakistan. Our (biggest) need is food
and shelter. There's no timely food, just one meal a day. Without water, people
there are expected to drink from the dirty and polluted water in most of the
flood-affected areas."

While some relief efforts have helped survivors with food,
water, shelter and medical treatment, there are millions more who have received
little or no help at all. Time is
against them with no food and only contaminated water to drink. Already, cholera threatens the survivors
crammed into the relief camps.

The roads are a mess, and bad weather continues to hamper
deliveries of relief supplies. Ahmed
agrees. "Aid from the outside is impossible to reach there, only with army helicopters which are limited
in number. They are trying to send them
some food and other needs. This is a
very critical situation, just to give them food and other supplies on time."

Global Aid Network is no stranger to Pakistan. In
2005, a 7.6 magnitude earthquake struck Kashmir. GAIN sent an emergency aid
team to assist in providing relief from the aftermath. The team conducted
medical clinics, set up water filtration systems, and distributed food and other
additional aid.

That network remained in place, so the teams were able to readily
mobilize when the floods came this month. Ahmed says they have a team "on the ground
collecting some food items from different organizations, and they are
distributing. Very soon, we are going to
have a short-term medical mission trip in these areas."

It's too early to consider the reconstruction effort: the forecast is calling for heavier monsoon
rains, and another flood wave is making its way across the Indus River.  

Even after the floods recede, Ahmed says, "We need to keep
those people in tent villages for maybe one or two months. After that, they can
go back and start their rehabilitation and reconstruction work." Billions will be needed for
reconstruction.

As much as they will need to rebuild a broken nation, there
is also the broken spirit to contend with. Ahmed says, even where Christians
often face difficulty, in a time of crisis all that changes. "When we reach them with the love of Christ,
they are astonished. 'What force is behind
you? Who brings you here to serve us in
difficult areas?' Then we tell them, 'It is the love of Christ that told us to
come to you.'"

In the days ahead, a lot of support will be needed to
recover from this disaster. "Pray for
the teams' safety, and pray for all of their needs in the field. Pray also that people will respond by
supporting our work through their finances and [consider] maybe that God
might want them to donate to our ministry here in Pakistan."

Click here to learn more about helping Global Aid Network in Pakistan.

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About Pakistan

  • Primary Language: Urdu
  • Primary Religion: Islam
  • Evangelical: 0.6%
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