Evangelical Body Calls for Solidarity with Pakistan

Just days after a major charity expressed alarm over the international community's lukewarm response to aid appeals, the World Evangelical Alliance is calling on the world to stand in solidarity with flood-stricken Pakistan.

In an appeal sent to members in 128 countries worldwide, the organization expressed its "heartfelt sympathy" with the millions of people affected by the floods.

It appealed to members to give generously, financially and in prayer.

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"This 'creeping tsunami' impacting the lives of millions of people in Pakistan must be met with a robust response from the Christian community worldwide," said International Director of the World Evangelical Alliance Dr. Geoff Tunnicliffe.

"It is critical that we stand with the small minority of Christians in Pakistan as they seek to demonstrate God's love and care for the suffering."

World Vision member organizations working on the ground in Pakistan have described the scale of need as "incomprehensible." At least 1,600 people have been killed in the floods – considered one of the biggest floods in the history of Pakistan – brought on by heavy monsoon rains.

The Evangelical Alliance Pakistan has been providing shelter and basic necessities to families that have lost their homes.

Ifrahim Mathew of the Evangelical Alliance Pakistan appealed for more donations as he told of one tent village with 150 families still awaiting help.

"The floods in Pakistan are far worse than any of us first imagined. Meeting the immense needs of the survivors is an uphill struggle," he said. "The families we are caring for came to us with nothing but the clothes they were wearing. They have really lost everything."

The Disasters Emergency Committee, an alliance of 13 aid agencies in the United Kingdom, said it experienced a rise in donations in the second week, uncharacteristic for major appeals. It credited the increase to people becoming more aware of the scale of the disaster as it continues to unfold.

For a country which relies heavily on agriculture, the economic impact of the floods has been massive and many victims are going hungry.

The United Nations said on Monday that the floods had left around 800,000 people cut off from aid and accessible only by air.

It has so far raised around 70 percent of its $460 million fund for flood victims but says billions more will be needed to bring the country to a full recovery.

Gordon Showell-Rogers, associate international director of the World Evangelical Alliance, commented: "The vast suffering in Pakistan is, for most of us, unimaginable. The incredible statistics mask the individual pain. International support is desperately needed.

"Agencies linked to the WEA family, and churches in Pakistan are ready to face the challenge together. Your help and support will be a great encouragement to them."

The U.S. has committed $70 million to help Pakistan, a key ally in the region. Rajiv Shah, administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, admitted that countries would only be willing to commit money to the recovery effort if Islamabad could show that it was being spent properly.

"These are tough economic times around the world and it will require a demonstration of real transparency and accountability and that resources spent in Pakistan get results," he noted.

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