Christian Groups Respond to Flood-Devastated, Cyclone-Hit Pakistan

Christian relief groups have quickly responded to the severe flooding and cyclone which struck Pakistan this week leaving hundreds dead and hundreds of thousands of people helpless and homeless.

Storms and excessive rainfall throughout Pakistan – most severely in its largest province Balochistan – has left more than 300 dead and up to 1 million people homeless, according to U.S.-based Church World Service whose forces are on the ground.

In addition, high water levels have destroyed crops and livestock and threaten to spark disease outbreak as animal carcasses float in stagnant waters.

The international Christian relief and humanitarian agency World Vision announced Wednesday its plan to respond after the Pakistan Government appealed to international donors and NGOs (non-governmental organization) to contribute to relief efforts.

"Our operations strategy is to work through implementing partners," said Graham Strong, World Vision Pakistan national director, according to World Vision Middle East/Eastern Europe (MEERO)'s office.

"We will coordinate with other international and local NGOs that had a presence in the affected area prior to the disaster," added Strong. "Based on continuing monitoring of the situation and needs, we will decide what the best course of action is."

At least a thousand homes have been destroyed by flooding from rainfall and Cyclone Yemyin – which hit hardest Balochistan. Moreover, important infrastructures, power and water supplies have been severed in the southwest province.

Church World Service is working to help survivors of the disaster. The humanitarian arm of the National Council of Churches USA reported that it is providing food relief, temporary shelter, and portable water in the town of Gadap, near the southern coastal city of Karachi.

On June 2, CWS Pakistan/Afghanistan distributed relief item in Gadap to 250 families, giving priority to households completely destroyed, headed by widows or disabled, and families who have suffered fatalities. About 165 families received food packages on Monday, and 85 more received them Tuesday.

Food packages contain items such as rice, lentils, cooking oil, and sugar, and are meant to provide a month's ration for a family of 8-10 members.

"For the last three days we have had no food," said 80-year-old Muhammad Musa whose house was destroyed, according to CWS. "This at least will save us from total starvation."

On Wednesday, CWS distributed 250 plastic sheets for temporary shelter and 70 plastic sheets to protect drinking water sources in the area.

Church World Service has a long history of working in the southern districts of Pakistan. It has helped provide response and relief to those areas which are regularly hit by floods and severe weather.