With over 1,400 people dead and three million people affected after heavy flooding in Pakistan, the Methodist Relief and Development Fund (MRDF) and the Methodist Church are supporting efforts to help the survivors.
There are fears that the number of casualties and homeless will rise as rescuers gain access to hard-to-reach areas where roads were destroyed. Initial aerial pictures show that whole villages have been washed away. There are also concerns that diseases such as cholera and diarrhoea will spread as there is a limited supply of clean water.
MRDF has set up an emergency fund and donations will be channelled through its partner Action by Churches Together (ACT) International, which is responding to some of the immediate needs. This includes providing food and temporary shelter to some of the most vulnerable communities, as well as setting up mobile health clinics.
In an appeal for help, the Bishop of Peshawar, Rt Revd Humphrey Peters, said: “The monsoon rains have caused havoc all over Pakistan, but the Khyber Pakhtunkwa province has been hit hard by the floods. Thousands of villages are under water and hundreds of people are either dead or missing. All road links within the Province have been cut down, relief workers are trying to reach through boats or on foot.”
In response the World Mission Fund has agreed to send an immediate grant of £15,000 to the Diocese, which has launched an emergency Relief and Rescue programme for more than 1300 families affected by the floods. The Diocese is putting all its efforts into reaching those still stranded by the floods and proving affected families with food.
World Church Partnership Coordinator Steve Pearce said: “The Church of Pakistan, which is a united church, is doing its utmost to minister to as many people as it can. The Christian community is a small minority in Pakistan and is heartened by our prompt support and most of all by our prayer. We ask people to pray for all those affected by this disaster, for safety and for their needs to be met.” A special prayer for use by churches and individuals is available online here.
Simeon Mitchell, MRDF’s Fundraising Director, said: “This is the worst flooding Pakistan has experienced in over 70 years, and has affected a region already dealing with poverty and conflict. The immediate priorities are getting people to places of safety and trying to prevent the outbreak of waterborne diseases. In the long term, restoring the communities and livelihoods swept away by the floods will be a major challenge. Donations to our appeal will help alleviate some of the suffering in the short term, and empower people to begin rebuilding their lives.”
To donate to MRDF’s emergency fund, visit www.mrdf.org.uk, or call 020 7224 4814 to give by debit or credit card or by a cheque made payable to 'MRDF (Pakistan emergency)' and sent to MRDF, 25 Marylebone Road, London NW1 5JR.
Taxpayers are encouraged to gift aid their donations where possible, adding 28p to every pound they give, at no extra personal cost.