ASIA/PAKISTAN – The bishops: the floods washed away the houses but not the faith
Kachhi Community Development Association
Karachi (Agenzia Fides) – The Pakistani bishops of the three dioceses most affected by the recent floods which have caused great damage in the country say that “the floods destroyed houses but did not destroy the faith of Catholics, who are suffering in the midst of the crisis”. Speaking a few days ago at a media forum, attended by Agenzia Fides, Msgr. Benny Travas, Archbishop of Karachi, Msgr. Samson Shukardin, Bishop of Hyderabad (two cities in Sinh province) and Msgr. Khalid Rehmat OFM Cap, Bishop of Quetta (capital of the province of Beluchistan) said that “people continue to depend on international aid, but they show great generosity, the solidarity is moving and induces so much hope “.
The Bishops of Pakistan renew their call for increased support from the local and international community for those affected by the floods. The needs indicated are food, medicine, hygiene kits, mosquito nets, blankets, clothing, tents and drinking water, all materials for immediate assistance.
Once the flood waters recede, the second phase of assistance will be implemented, with measures aimed at restoring livelihoods, especially agriculture, rebuilding homes and restoring infrastructure and the schools.
“Even today, the scenario is worrying and painful. However, those affected cling to the survival instinct and also to the inner spiritual force that always leads people towards life and leads them to hope in life. future,” Bishop Travas said, praising how ordinary people from different walks of life show empathy and generosity towards strangers.
Solidarity comes through small gestures: teachers and all the staff of Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Karachi donated a day’s salary for the relief operations organized by the Church, he says. People from all walks of life are coming forward to volunteer their time and energy as humanitarian aid volunteers, he notes. “Looking at the difficulties and the struggle to survive, one might think that everything is hopeless or that people are experiencing a spiritual drought. On the contrary, we can say that people, in this crisis, are showing deep faith in God, believe in Providence and find in God the rock to move forward and look to the future,” concludes Bishop Travas.
The Bishop of Hyderabad, Msgr. Shukardin agrees and reaffirms that “despite the challenges people are facing, spirituality and faith are very much alive.” Catholics help everyone, Christians and Muslims, by reaching out to all those who need help in these difficult times,” he said, noting the gratitude that is growing in society towards the Catholic Church for the Indeed, with 95% of agricultural workers in a state of crisis, farmers will need new seeds and new plants to grow after the flood has receded, and Caritas is running response programs to this too.
In Hyderabad Diocese, women and children receiving health care at St. Elizabeth Catholic Hospital, and several health centers opened by the Diocese in the territory are most affected, Bishop says .
In Balochistan, life was already marked by problems such as poverty, terrorism, political instability and unemployment. Today, natural disasters aggravate destitution, but “our fellow citizens, even if they are materially poor, have a solid faith, which gives them courage and hope even in these difficult times”, notes Bishop Khalid Rehmat OFM Cap, Apostolic Vicar of Quetta. The Prelate stresses that with the approach of winter, the displaced people will soon need warm clothes, blankets and tents, because “many are sleeping in open places and along the roads, their houses having been destroyed” , he said.
With the support and organization of Caritas Pakistan, relief operations continue in the various dioceses, in which volunteers, priests, nuns, communities and ecclesiastical associations are working hard.
According to a United Nations estimate, as of September 20, more than 30 million people have been displaced by the disaster which has claimed 1,500 lives, including 552 children. More than 600,000 people have now found refuge in relief camps which are set up and maintained by various national and international aid agencies.
With the southern province of Sindh still inundated – and experts warn it could take six months for the waters to recede – there are fears that diseases and epidemics could spread, creating a health emergency.
(PA-SD) (Fides Service, 9/22/2022)