Pakistan (MNN) — Two months of flooding in Pakistan have destroyed lives, homes, health, and possibly agricultural success. The disaster continues to spiral the country further into devastation.
"This is the largest disaster in recent memory," says Peter Howard with Food for the Hungry. "Larger than the tsunami [in 2004], larger than the Haiti earthquake, as far as the numbers of people. I mean, we're talking 15 to 20 million people affected by this flooding."
The number of homes destroyed by flood waters in Pakistan has now reached nearly two million. Howard says that in Punjab Province, where FH has taken up relief work, people have tried unsuccessfully to return to their homes. "After homes in that region have been under water for 72 hours or more, they start to break down because they are mud and brick homes," explains Howard. "They start to melt away." Homes that are somewhat intact are often still too damaged to inhabit, and the possessions of many have been washed away.
In the meantime, an agricultural crisis is pending. Planting season in Pakistan begins soon, and Howard says much of Punjab–where a large majority of the country's planting takes place–is still three to four feet under water. If seeds aren't planted, food will need to be imported until next season.
Cases of waterborne diseases have also sprung up. Families are living in makeshift tents, and children are unable to attend school.
Many have blamed the government for responding inadequately to the overwhelming crisis. Stories of people who have received literally no government aid so far have been told all over the country. Howard confirms, however, that the cleanup of this caliber of disaster is unattainable for any government.
"It's an extremely difficult situation," says Howard. "I mean, the flood has affected an area the size of England. So you can imagine any government, no matter how much capacity they have, would have a very difficult time reaching every area very quickly."
That's part of the reason FH has stepped in. They are able to help in regions that the government has yet to reach. Howard, who was recently in Punjab to help with FH aid there, says he didn't see any other relief groups in the area FH was serving throughout any of his stay. The space is simply too wide to be covered all at once.
Nonetheless, the general unanimity of FH in the area they are serving has provided them with an invaluable opportunity to help, and to do so in Christ's name.
"We feel it's our duty and our responsibility to represent Christ well and to share His love in the best way we know how. In this case, that means showing His love by bringing in food and helping access clean water and getting people back into homes and shelter. By doing that, we believe we're pointing to our God and our Creator, but also saying, ‘We love you in the name of Christ.'
"Our goal is to build strong and good relationships with the people in the community. We're building strong relationships with our Muslim friends in those communities where we're working. We think it's a great opportunity to develop greater understanding between people of different faiths as well."
Pray for the health and safety of FH workers as they show God's love in a tangible way to Pakistanis in need.
This catastrophe has affected millions and millions of lives, but each one matters much to the Lord. Any amount you can donate could help to bring shelter, food or clean water to one person or many. Allow kingdom work to go forward by donating to Food for the Hungry today. To donate online, click here.