The Methodist Church in Britain has launched an appeal for the people of Pakistan as the number of flood victims continues to rise there.
The Church of Pakistan called for help after torrential monsoon rains fell over the southern Sindh province last week, destroying livelihoods and spreading disease. More than 7.5 million people have been affected by the disaster and the number could still rise.
Four church staff in the Raiwind Diocese died of dengue fever last week and the epidemic has claimed many more lives across the region.
Steve Pearce, Partnership Coordinator for Asia and the Pacific, is set to visit Sindh province next week. He commented: “The scale of the disaster is huge. These are the people who were also flooded last year, so some of them have not yet got their livelihoods back in order. The Church of Pakistan is in a position to help. Pakistani church leaders have met with local government officials and that is important because Pakistan is an Islamic state where Christians are a minority.”
This week the Church's World Mission Fund gave a grant of £20,000 to the Church of Pakistan. Half of the money will go towards curbing the spread of dengue fever through the purchase of mosquito nets, insect repellent and sprays. The other half of the grant will be used to buy food and emergency supplies.
NGOs are responding to the crisis, but the Church’s response is helping to dispel negative connotations surrounding Christians in Pakistan who have been oppressed because of their beliefs and their associations with the West.
* People can donate to the Pakistan Appeal launched by the World Mission Fund via the Methodist Church Just Giving page (http://www.justgiving.com/mcfworldmission/donate/) or by sending a cheque payable to the World Mission Fund to Steve Pearce, World Church Relationships, at Methodist Church House, 25 Marylebone Road, London, NW1 5JR. Postal donations should be labelled ‘Pakistan Appeal’. UK taxpayers can Gift Aid their donations allowing the Church to reclaim an extra 20p for every £1 donated. Include a completed Gift Aid form with your donation (http://methodist-news.org.uk/BVI-JQYA-35NNYU-7MXNE-1/c.aspx).