Christian Relief Agencies Keep Pakistan Aid Flow Moving

With an estimated 4 million people in Pakistan affected by Saturday's 7.6 magnitude quake, including 2 million who lost homes, according to the United Nations, international Christian relief organizations have been loading trucks and contacting local alliance agencies to provide the much needed assistance to the disaster-stricken areas.

World Vision dispatched truck loads of 1,000 blankets, tents and cases of water bottles along with 2,000 burial cloths on Tuesday for Mansehra in North West Frontier Province, where much of the deaths occurred.

Recent reports state the death toll is at 4,748 in NWFP and is still rising. Overall, 23,000 deaths have been confirmed with Pakistani officials expecting a higher death toll of 35,000.

"My staff who have been out in the field said the bodies keep coming in - most of them are children. It is heartrending," said World Vision Pakistan National Director Sigurd Hanson. "People are talking about a lost generation. I can’t imagine how the children who survived are coping."

As aid trucks moved in to the collapsed towns, World Vision staffers reported the terrible conditions they have witnessed on site.

Gill reported villagers being treated by medical teams on the roadside with other aid deliveries clogging the main road, according to the released statement.

Ijaz Ahmad, Human Resrouces Manager of World Vision, said, "The water and sanitation system has been completely destroyed. The river waters are dirty from mud and this is now undrinkable. The tap water system has been destroyed. Electricity was down and it is becoming cold at night and people are sleeping outside."

"Shelter is the most important thing and this is why we will be providing tents, quilts and blankets," said World Vision Programme Officer Fayyaz Gill in a recent release by World Vision.

As winter approaches, winterised tents are being airlifted to Pakistan by World Vision from Dubai.

World Relief, which works with local churches in the United States and 24 countries around the world to help the desperately poor, is currently working through its network of alliances, including national Indian and Pakistani faith-based organizations, to respond to the horrifying situation in a joint effort.

"In a year plagued with disaster, where it is impossible to be fully engaged in every event, the value of all of God's people working together becomes particularly evident," said a released statement by World Relief.

While initial assistance by Christian agencies has reached the devastated regions even before government officials and the military stepped in to the remote areas, impediments have slowed rescue efforts and the flow of aid, including Thursday's 5.6-magnitude aftershock which struck near the epicenter.

"We are moving as quickly as possible to get things out to the people who need it," said Hanson. "The conditions out there are horrendous, the roads into the remote areas are broken and closed. We are doing all that we can to speed the aid to the areas that we have assessed."