Helping the Pakistanis

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NICK EICHER, HOST: To come The world and all in it: Floods in Pakistan.

This country is reeling from the record floods that hit this year. More than 600,000 people have been displaced and nearly 1,500 killed.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Aid is now coming into the country. Some Christian aid groups are also entering the fray to lend a hand in what is sure to be a long-term crisis. Reporting by Onize Ohikere of WORLD.

THE AUDIO: [Water rushing]

ONIZE OHIKERE, JOURNALIST: A pastor in Pakistan’s worst-hit Sindh province has seen floodwaters rise inside his home and church, up to six feet high.

He is now one of more than 33 million people directly affected by the floods.

Reverend Maqsood Kamil is part of the Pak Mission Society.

KAMIL: The pastor’s wife was also suffering from, you know, flood-related illness. They had to be rescued and they live in someone else’s house.

The disaster left hundreds of thousands of people on the streets and in makeshift shelters. Jabran Gill from Pak Mission met several of them on the side of the road as he was distributing aid across Sindh. His team stopped to help.

GILL: People were just by the side of the road, they were just sleeping, and they were just out in the open and there were a lot of mosquitoes

Recovery efforts are underway. Engineers and troops have reopened a major highway between Quetta city and Sindh, hoping to get more help to survivors.

THE AUDIO: [Children in makeshift school]

The UN children’s agency has also set up a temporary tent school in the town of Khairpur, Sindh, attracting around 200 children. Officials hope the language and drawing lessons will help the children cope with the trauma.

Economists now say the destruction could cost three times the government’s initial estimate of $10 billion. Floodwaters also submerged miles of cotton and vegetable fields.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

GUTERRES: I just don’t have words to describe what I saw today. A flooded area that is three times the total area of ​​my own country, Portugal.

The United Nations and other countries like the United States have sent more than 100 planes loaded with aid. The United States alone has committed $30 million in humanitarian assistance. A long-term concern is whether Pakistan’s agrarian economy can recover from the decimation of crops and livestock. Vedant Patel is a spokesperson for the US State Department.

PATEL: Over a million homes have been damaged or destroyed and nearly 735,000 head of cattle, a major source of livelihood and food, have been lost. »

Kamil from Pak Mission says the ministry has provided more than 300,000 meals to people in four different provinces.

KAMIL: Once the water goes down, we will work on people’s livelihoods, rehabilitation, their you know, house constructions and other related things, you know, what is needed for rehabilitation.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization is warning of a second wave of disasters caused by mosquito- and water-borne diseases. Hundreds of people are coming to field clinics for treatment for malaria, dengue and bowel diseases. Water Mission delivered water treatment systems and purification sachets to its local partners.

George Greene IV is the president of Water Mission.

GREENE: Each of these sachets you see here can treat 10 liters of water. And I believe they were also shipped with over 300,000 packets as part of the initial response.

Pakistani authorities say it could take up to six months to drain water from flood-hit areas. Security forces also face militant attacks. A roadside bomb last Tuesday killed five people in the flood-hit Swat Valley.

THE AUDIO: [Mothers and children]

Water Mission served Pakistan after the 2007 floods, so Greene understands they are still in the early stages of the response. But longer-term support also offers more opportunities for ministry in the Muslim-majority nation.

It happened during their last reply.

GREENE: They credited the water projects that accompanied this with enabling them to eventually plant 500 churches, 1,500 leaders, four schools, two women’s vocational training centers and many people going to heaven through the first effort and on the initiative.

Greene says it also provides an opportunity for holistic outreach that serves in word and deed.

GREENE: When you think about going in and meeting a physical need, when someone’s hanging by a thread, you know, the question arises, why are you doing this? And that gives us a chance to talk about the faith that we have.

Reporting for WORLD, I am Onize Ohikere.

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