Faisalabad (Agenzia Fides) - The Pakistani government has officially declared 66 districts of the country, submerged by the monsoon floods at the end of August 2022, and which have involved more than 33 million people 'affected by calamities'. There are currently 31 in Balochistan, 23 in Sindh, 9 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and 3 in Punjab, but the situation is evolving and the number of districts declared calamitous is expected to increase if the rains continue to fall.
The Lay Camillian Family (LCF) and the Camillians in Pakistan have responded promptly to this serious humanitarian crisis by providing first emergency assistance to people affected by the flood in the dioceses of Hyderabad and Faisalabad (see Fides, 6/9/2022).
"In the following weeks it became clear that the emergency intervention would only partially alleviate the human, material and psychological damage", said Fr. Aris Miranda, MI, Executive Director of Camillian Disaster Service International (Cadis). "A more sustained and incisive intervention was therefore necessary. The overall goal of our project is to bring God's merciful love of Christ and alleviate suffering. The specific objectives include the provision of food, mosquito nets, blankets, drugs and medicines for ordinary illnesses and injuries at an individual level. The project also aims to distribute 4,500 relief packages sufficient for a month of supply to families". The intervention area will focus on the parish of St. Francis, located in the district of Nawabshah which has 220,283 inhabitants in 2022, and will assist 33,000 people.
Partners of the project, together with the Tzu Chi Buddhist Charity Foundation, partner of CADIS also in other projects (see Fides, 4/5/2022), which will finance the intervention, are the Diocese of Hyderabad, the Camillians and the Lay Camillian Family. The partnership will make it possible to achieve important results for the affected population. Local partners include the parish priest, catechists, the Youth Group of St. Francis, the Daughters of the Holy Cross. "Belonging to a faith different from that of the majority is another challenge that must be faced in Pakistan. People who belong to different religious traditions have been discriminated against. They not only suffer from the loss of their material possessions, but also experience mental and spiritual agony in this context. In this scenario, they need material help and special attention to their psycho-spiritual well-being".
Increased floods are an inevitable consequence of climate change and not only endanger human lives, livelihoods and property, but also devastate the country's economy. Pakistan has received over 60% of the average monsoon rainfall in just three weeks since the start of the monsoon season in July 2022. (AP) (Agenzia Fides, 8/10/2022)