Pakistan Church rushes winter aid to flood victims

Dominican Peace Center aims to reach out to 1,000 families during the cold period

Dec 02, 2022

Fr James Channan (in pink shirt) visiting a village in Rajanpur district on Nov. 7. (Photo: Fr James Channan)

By Kamran Chaudhry
With the arrival of winter, Church groups are rushing aid to people affected by the devastating floods that hit the country in June.

Temperatures are already dropping in Pakistan, which is still reeling from flooding that put one-third of the country under water, displaced eight million people and caused at least US$28 billion worth of damage.

The coldest months will be December and January when the mercury will plummet to well below freezing.

Fr James Channan, director of the Dominican Peace Center in Lahore, sent quilts, grocery items¸ hygiene kits and shoes to 50 people in Basti Fakhar, south Punjab through Caritas Pakistan Multan which distributed the items on Nov. 11.

The priest aims to reach out to 1,000 families during the winter and has already helped 600 households including Christians, Muslims and Hindus in Bahawalpur and Rajanpur districts with the support of Accion Verapaz, a Spanish NGO linked to the Dominicans.

“Winter is approaching very fast and unless urgent steps are taken, more people may die. Sadly, not much has been done despite high profile visits of Hollywood A-lister and UNHCR ambassador Angelina Jolie and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres,” said Fr Channan.

“Not a single mud house was livable in affected villages. It’s like living in a dried pond with shards of soil. No government officials have visited them, he added.”

Caritas Pakistan is planning to reach out to 5,000 flood-affected people in the next few months.

“It’s a crucial phase. Contrary to media reports, water is still standing in some districts of interior Sindh province as well as in southwestern Balochistan,” said Amjad Gulzar, executive director of Caritas Pakistan.

“The harsh season threatens the lives of those in tent settlements. Warm clothes, bedding, shelter and medical assistance are required in the millions to prevent a medical emergency,” he said.

Gulzar accompanied Archbishop Sebastian Shaw, apostolic administrator of Multan diocese, during a visit to Caritas tent villages and a medical camp in south Punjab on Nov. 3. He distributed quilts, warm clothes, bedding, grocery items, nutrition kits and hygiene packages among flood

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