Evangelical Christian group Samaritan’s Purse is providing emergency relief to thousands of families in Pakistan, where floods have killed more than 1,200 people, damaged or destroyed hundreds of thousands of homes and displaced nearly half a million people.
The relief group, led by evangelist Franklin Graham, said it's working with local partners to provide critical supplies such as food, water filtration kits, heavy-duty shelter material and hygiene kits throughout the hardest-hit areas.
The floods in the provinces of Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab and Sindh have killed at least 1,265 people, including 441 children, and 12,577 others have been injured, the South Asian country’s National Disaster Management Authority said Saturday.
Pakistan’s government has said about 33 million people, which is about 15% of Pakistan’s population, have been affected by flooding caused by record-breaking rainfall.
“Millions of people are suffering in Pakistan right now as a result of the worst flooding in decades. But events like this are also an opportunity for the floodgates of God’s love to be poured out and received,” Samaritan’s Purse Project Manager Jason Martens said in a statement shared with The Christian Post.
Rainfall is estimated to be 500% above average in some provinces, Samaritan’s Purse said.
The U.N. children’s agency UNICEF said Friday that more children could die from various diseases.
“There is now a high risk of water-borne, deadly diseases spreading rapidly — diarrhea, cholera, dengue, malaria,” UNICEF's Pakistan representative Abdullah Fadil was quoted as saying. “There is therefore a risk of many more child deaths.”
The U.N. has also warned that the floods could significantly affect neighboring Afghanistan, which has witnessed a major food crisis since the Taliban takeover last year, the Indian newspaper The Telegraph reported, pointing out that the U.N. World Food Program said earlier this month that around half of Afghanistan’s population, or 20 million people, required urgent food aid.
The government’s initial estimate of the damage is $10 billion.
The United States is conducting a military aid mission to affected areas, the U.S. armed forces Central Command said Friday, according to AFP.
“CENTCOM is sending an assessment team to Islamabad to determine what potential support DoD (Department of Defense) can provide ... as part of the United States’ assistance to the flooding crisis in Pakistan,” spokesman Col. Joe Buccino was quoted as saying in a statement.
The U.S. Agency for International Development, or USAID, has also announced $30 million to support people and communities affected by the flooding.
Similarly, the U.K.’s Foreign Office has pledged up to $1.7 million for Pakistan’s relief effort.
“The floods in Pakistan have devastated local communities and the U.K. is providing up to $1.73 million (£1.5 million) to help the immediate aftermath,” said Lord Tariq Ahmad of Wimbledon, minister of state for South and Central Asia, North Africa, U.N. and the Commonwealth. “We are witnessing the catastrophe that climate change can cause and how it impacts the most vulnerable.”
Pakistan has also received aid from China, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, Uzbekistan, the United Arab Emirates and many other countries.