Monsoon rains have long affected the northern region of Pakistan, but recent rains, combined with melting glaciers, have created catastrophic flooding that’s killed over 1,400 since June, a third of whom are children, and affected 33 million people. The death toll rises daily.
Almost a third of the country has been underwater and more than three million children currently are in danger of waterborne diseases, malnutrition and drowning, needing urgent humanitarian assistance, according to UNICEF. Over 17,000 schools have been destroyed or damaged, jeopardizing children’s education even more since COVID-setbacks. Farming villages have been destroyed, houses swept away and simple structures made of mud bricks crumbled as rains fell for weeks. Tent camps have been set up even while boat rescues continue.
‘There is no question Pakistan’s tragic floods will require a long-term response, a recovery that will take years,’ said Laura Fontaine, International Programs Manager at Baptist World Aid. ‘That’s why we have begun the immediate work of partnering with other Christian organisations and their local partners who are currently doing food and shelter distribution.’
News reports cite that many children have been separated from family during the floods so efforts for family tracing has begun. Crops and livestock have been destroyed and infrastructure between many villages is now non-existent. Pakistani officials say more than two million acres of agricultural land has been flooded, preventing remaining farmers from planting new ones, and calling the floods the worst in the region’s history.
The government has been distributing water pumps in recent weeks, but the equipment has been overwhelmed, according to Sherry Rehman, Pakistan’s climate minister.
‘Where do you drain the water?’ Rehman said. ‘It’s an ocean. It’s a merciless sky.’
The flooding comes at a particularly difficult time for Pakistan when economic downturns, poverty and food shortages have troubled the country.
‘The human toll is unimaginable in every way,’ Fontaine said. ‘Pakistan needs our prayers and our coordinated help to bring immediate relief and begin the difficult but crucial work of long-term recovery.’
PLEASE PRAY FOR PAKISTAN:
- that children would be safe, reunited with family, and have psycho-social support;
- that humanitarian aid would be delivered quickly and safely, despite flooded roads;
- that God’s people would provide ongoing support, prayer and assistance for the Pakistani people in the years to come.