The United Nations has warned that the recent flooding across Asia is on a disaster level exceeding that of the Boxing Day Tsunami and the Haitian earthquake.
At time of going to press, 2000 have been killed and more than 14 million people displaced in Pakistan alone, in what the UN secretary’s special envoy to Pakistan has called ‘the biggest catastrophe’ the country has ever faced.
More than 700 people have died in landslides in northern China; the death toll is into the hundreds in India on the Jammu and Kashmir border; while 11 people are known to have died in Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic.
However, the greatest need is in Pakistan, where there is now a displaced population equivalent to the entire population of Guatemala.
Although the Taliban in Pakistan and Kashmir have asserted that they need no foreign aid, as reported by Sky News, the scale of the disaster is such that global aid agencies, the majority of which are Christian, are working day and night to bring relief to the affected areas.
Oxfam is battling to deliver clean water to almost 100,000 people made homeless by the floods, while other aid agencies such as Tearfund have many people on the ground with urgently needed medical and food supplies.
‘Christians are crying out for help’, said a church leader phoning from Pakistan to Barnabas Fund, according to the agency. The floods and subsequent landslides struck the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (formerly North-West Frontier Province), where there is a significant Christian population.
Livestock, homes and businesses have been swept away; the communication network is down; dozens of bridges have been washed away; roads and rail tracks are under water. There have also been reports of water-borne diseases such as cholera in some areas.
One of Barnabas Fund’s partners has counted 1120 Christian families affected by the flooding in just twelve areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province. Barnabas Fund has already sent £10,000 to assist Christians affected by flooding in both Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province and Punjab Province. To donate via these agencies, visit www.barnabasfund.org; www.tearfund.org; or www.oxfam.org.uk