By Jeremy Reynalds, Senior Correspondent, ASSIST News Service (email@example.com)
LONDON (ANS. AUG. 23) The British Pakistani Christian Association’s Naveed Aziz, its Pakistan officer, visited Kasur to meet with victims of the massive deluge in Pakistan earlier this month.
According to a news release from the British Pakistani Christian Association (BPCA), Christians living there have received no help from the Government of Pakistan or any charities.
They have been affected by the Pakistan floods every year since 2010, and yet no disaster recovery plan or infrastructure has been put in place to enhance their safety or security.
BPCA said its work was delayed due to its officer first traveling to Layyah and Gilgit, both areas where all the Christian communities have survived and remain unscathed.
Government agencies and Muslim charities have set up tents and are providing clean water, food and medical aid to these regions. That can’t be said for the Christians of Kasur.
BPCA said when Aziz arrived, he immediately noticed the disheveled existence of the communities in the area. Victims had lost most of their possessions, which had been washed away with their homes or irretrievably ruined by water damage.
Speaking in the news release Aziz said, “I was shocked at the immense devastation before me. It was a lot to take in. People are in real desperation and children are starving. I am surprised and shocked at the lack of help from Pakistani authorities.”
Aziz spoke to local residents and was encouraged by their bravery and resilience.
He said they spoke of their faith in God, and their belief that He would find provisions for them. The families had been working together to arrange boats to get people to safety during the floods. Since its dissipation, they returned to find much of their livestock and crops have not survived.
According to BPCA Aziz said, “Although they are worried about how they will see themselves through this lean spell, they have placed their trust in God. There is a desperate need for clean water, and we have asked for the funders of our Jaranwala pump project to allow us to build a clean water pump for the community as they have none.”
In the meanwhile, Aziz said, the group has only raised £220 from its flood appeal. He added, “This is woefully short of the level we need and we call urgently on our faithful supporters to please give to this necessary work. This community needs food, clean water, medical support and new clothes and furniture. Many have lost their mud homes and we need to help build new properties.”
For some downtrodden families the whole devastation was simply too much, BPCA reported Aziz said. Feeling without options, they have given up their freedom and signed (with a thumb print) bonded labor contracts just for food and shelter.
Wilson Chowdhry, Chairman of the BPCA, said in the news release, “My heart bleeds for this community, young children are starving and families choose to sell them selves into slavery for survival, illustrating that humanity has left the nation of Pakistan. I shed tears when I heard the story of this repeating plight and hope others are moved by the tragic lifestyle these families face daily. I hope hearts are stirred to offer help to these victims, as I believe one day we all have to answer to our maker.”
BPCA asked for prayer that the Government of Pakistan builds infrastructure to prevent the huge annual loss of life due to weather, and that India and Pakistan are able to put aside differences and coordinate a mutually beneficial flood prevention/reduction program.
“Pray for Christians to no longer be overlooked when flooding occurs, and that they can afford to rebuild their homes and replace what they have lost,” BPCA added.
For more information visit www.britishpakistanichristians.org
Photo caption: Jeremy and Elma Reynalds.
About the writer: Jeremy Reynalds is Senior Correspondent for the ASSIST News Service, a freelance writer and also the founder and CEO of Joy Junction, New Mexico’s largest emergency homeless shelter, www.joyjunction.org. He has a master’s degree in communication from the University of New Mexico, and a Ph.D. in intercultural education from Biola University in Los Angeles. His newest book is “From Destitute to Ph.D.” Additional details on “From Destitute to Ph.D.” are available at www.myhomelessjourney.com. Reynalds lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico with his wife, Elma. For more information contact: Jeremy Reynalds at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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