By Michael Ireland, SeniorReporter, ASSIST News Service, email@example.com
KASUR, PAKISTAN (ANS, October 10, 2015) — During the first week of August 2015 there was extensive flooding in Kasur, Pakistan, caused by heavy rainfall and the “callous opening” of Indian dams into the river Sutlej.
The inundation destroyed over 100 acres of crops in the locality and caused severe damage to several villages including Ganda Singhwala and Bhikki vind, communities that the British Pakistani Christian Association www.britishpakistanichristians.org felt led to help.
According to a report from Wilson Chowdhry, Chairman of the British Pakistani Christian Association (firstname.lastname@example.org), on August 8, the BPCA team assessed the impact of the deluge on the Christian communities living in the area.
Chowdhry said: “We found poor health associated with (a) general lack of medical care, and the influx of stagnant water bringing the risk of water-borne illnesses, a major concern. We also prioritized the loss of seven homes due to feeble structure, and a lack of food due to the health and safety risk. On previous visits we distributed food packages and we also held the BPCA’s first ever outreach event, which was well attended. BPCA also set up a medical camp that was popular and extremely successful resulting in many visitors from neighboring towns, the majority of whom had never previously visited a medical professional before.”
Chowdhry stated that many of the regular residents of this beleaguered community had left the village due to fear of further flooding. “The really desperate families faced with famine and destitution had sadly decided to sell themselves into slavery just to survive, signing bonded labor contracts with local Muslim businessmen who run the infamous and cruel brick kilns of Kasur. The loss of homes, entire possessions and mass illness has been demoralizing for these residents and our little early help was a source of great confidence, to a community desperate for assistance.”
In recent weeks the BPCA team has been busy helping seven families quite literally rebuild their lives. “We have been building brand new brick homes and replacing shoddy infrastructure and making repairs to existing broken down mud houses. The new homes will not only have a deep foundation but (also) a 3-foot concrete plinth too, which will keep them above the existing flood level, so that future floods will neither destroy the homes nor allow damage to the internal property or the valued possessions of the home owners.”
Other families are also being helped with minor repairs to roofs, floors and walls, according to the BPCA. In particular, a family living in a one-roomed house had repairs made to their floor.
Boota Masih said: “The whole family is very thankful to BPCA for this generous support. We didn’t have the finance(s) to repair our room, and lost our annual income due to the crop devastation. Our lives have not returned to normal but we are much more confident now. We thank God for his blessings.”
Chowdhry continued: “We are also working on a clean water project due (to) the lack of a clean water pump in the area. Two pumps have been installed to serve the community, one in the courtyard of a home in which the owners have agreed to allow access to other residents, the other in the local community center funded by the local Catholic church, which is also used as a worship center. Clean drinking water is a basic need for all, and the lack of it in this region is evidenced in the extremely poor health of locals. Many locals have suffered with ongoing problems with dysentery, dengue fever, and malaria, and we hope our clean water facility will reduce these ailments significantly.”
A surprising result of this project was a discovery that young girls have been travelling miles away to freshwater streams to collect ostensibly clean water. The girls will have more free time on their hands and we are hoping to raise money to build a new school in the area that can serve the younger generation of this particular community.
Martha Bibi said: “Now our daughters won’t have to go to a far place to get clean drinking water. We will have the water on our doorstep now and it is free of charge so we can’t give enough thanks to BPCA for sharing such love and care for us. The water facility will change our lives in several ways. The water facility took off burden and worry from our lives now, because now we know that everyone in the village will have clean drinking water.”
Main Image: BPCA builds a large plinth and new brick homes for Christians previously living in mud homes. (BPCA Photo)
Other image: Naveed and proud residents with the new water pump (BPCA Photo).
Bio Image: Michael Ireland
About the Writer: Michael Ireland is a Senior Correspondent for the ASSIST News Service, as well as a volunteer Internet Journalist and Ordained Minister who has served with ASSIST Ministries and ASSIST News Service since its beginning in 1989. He has reported for ANS from Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Israel, Jordan, China, and Russia. Click http://paper.li/Michael_ASSIST/1410485204 to see a daily digest of Michael’s stories for ANS.
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