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Published on 24 August, 2010

Floods threaten more further south

Pakistan (MNN) — Dozens of Pakistani villages are being vacated
ahead of another surge of water threatening more areas south of the current
flood zone.

20 million people are already
affected by the water, and the threat of disease hangs over the most vulnerable
survivors.

Leena
Samuel with
Food For the Hungry spoke to us from Islamabad after surveying several villages in Rahim
Yarkhan, in the worst hit part of Punjab. "As the flooding is moving
further south, we're looking to respond in Punjab province with similar sort of
things. Right now, it's still the emergency phase where just the basic necessities
need to be met. Being able to provide food and non-food items and shelter is really critical at the
moment."  

News images put the extent of the
disaster in a framework through satellite pictures, but being there in person
was different. Samuel was struck by the
images of houses that represented interrupted lives. "You
could see maybe the tops of the houses, most of them already flattened. And
then in one area, [you could see] seeing the top of the fencing that was clearly for a
school, and an arch that said the name of the school on it. But the rest of it was
completely underwater–at least five to seven feet of water."

River levels are still rising in
some areas, and rescue teams are struggling to reach those in need.

Samuel says many of the flood victims are still waiting
for food, shelter and clean water. "We
went to a few communities that haven't been reached with aid at all. They just
set up camp right on the river bank, with whatever they've been able to
salvage–which was hardly anything. There's overwhelming
need, and I just saw a small part of that… It really was quite overwhelming."  

As soon as the flooding began,
Food for the Hungry's partner, the Interfaith League
Against Poverty (I-LAP), began working
in the northwest part of the country. The scale of the wreckage means they are
expanding their project. "They've
already been responding to the needs of about 8000 families through the support
of food for the hungry and other international partners. They've set up two
camps made up of 250 families each, providing them with tents, hygiene kits (which include soap, towels and toothbrushes and toothpaste), and kitchen kits with
pots, pans and dishes."

The amount of response flooding
into Haiti was heartening to agencies like FH. However, it's a different story
for Pakistan, and it could be related to the problems with the insurgents. "I think the humanitarian community was slow
to respond. I think a lot of that hesitation is due to security incidents
that organizations have already faced in the past and the fear of that. I think
the insecurity is causing many humanitarian groups to pause before coming in."

Waters will be slow to
recede. The fields that would contain
food are under water. It could be up to
a year before residents are able to sow and harvest new crops and feed themselves
again. Samuel says, "The one hope
we have is the fact that we serve a God who is sovereign. And as we walk together
with these communities and show them Christ's love through action, we trust
that they will see the hope in that, and trust that He will guide and guard the
response."

Pray for the relief teams as they will
stretch themselves to the limit in reaching out as the hands and feet of
Christ. Pray that those who can help would respond
with generosity, showing the love of Christ in a tangible way. Click here for details.

 

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