An India-born mission leader is pleading for Christians in America to “not grow weary in well-doing” and continue to stand with those who are bringing relief – and God’s healing love – to the victims of Pakistan’s massive flooding.
“[W]e should be looking at things like the Macedonian believers did in the New Testament,” said K.P. Yohannan, founder and president of Gospel For Asia. “They were in terrible poverty and had nothing for themselves, but they thought about others who were suffering and contributed and shared what they could. I think this is the biblical and godly attitude we should maintain.”
It has been nearly two months since extremely heavy monsoon rains unleashed floods that spread across Pakistan, killing more than 1,700 people and damaging or destroying nearly 1.9 million homes. Now, seven weeks later, some areas still remain under water, and food, shelter and other emergency aid is still being supplied to displaced people.
In addition to homes, the waters also took a devastating toll on farmland and livestock, wiping out the livelihood of millions of poor farm families. Josette Sheeran, executive director of the U.N.'s World Food Program, said most of the 6 million people the U.N. food agency is trying to feed were agricultural workers who lost their crops and seeds to replant.
"Imagine how desperate and demoralized you would be if you lost your home and possessions, and in addition, your teenaged son was drowned in the floodwaters," posed Yohannan.
"That's the kind of tragedy that has been experienced by hundreds of families in these flood-stricken villages,” he added.
Last week, the United Nations made its largest disaster appeal ever, asking the world's governments to raise a total of $2 billion for Pakistani flood victims. The United States, Pakistan’s biggest donor, has donated nearly $350 million to help Pakistan cope with this summer's devastating floods.
The U.S. has also earmarked $7.5 billion in aid over the next five years. But aid groups have pointed out that pledges have done little to help the victims, more than 3 million of which did not receive desperately needed food aid even a month after the disaster, according to the United Nations.
"We have a long way to go before we reach the target amount of $2 billion, as key donors keep postponing the delivery of much-needed humanitarian relief money," noted Louis Belanger, spokesman for the global aid organization Oxfam International, in a statement. "While some donors are dragging their feet and wait for future meetings to make their pledges a reality, the affected people of Pakistan are the ones (who) suffer."
With so many still in need, aid groups on the ground have been striving to bring victims the basic necessities they need, including food, water, clothing, shelter and medicines.
Churches in the area, some of which are also suffering from the crisis, have also been working to bring relief in and around their villages.
GFA’s Yohannan said his group has missionaries and volunteers on the scene – even those who have suffered their own losses – who have been able and willing to attend to those around them.
"This is a time for people to pray and do whatever they can to relieve the suffering of people whom God loves in the name of our Lord,” the mission leader reported.
“Now is the time to show the world what God's love really means," he concluded.
According to a recent report on the Pakistan floods, UNICEF predicts that the disaster will take years if not decades to put right.
World Vision, the largest Christian relief group in the world, meanwhile, said earlier this month that the emergency in Pakistan would “get worse before it gets better.”
Around 17 million people have been affected since the end of July and five times as many homes were damaged or destroyed in the floods as were hit by this year’s earthquake in Haiti.