PAKISTAN: Aid for families affected by flooding
Salesians launch aid projects to help those impacted by devastating flooding
(MissionNewswire) Salesian missionaries have been responding after destructive flooding decimated much of Pakistan. Monsoon rains, combined with melting glaciers in the Himalayas and widespread garbage clogging the sewers, created a deadly situation for millions of people. Nearly half the country flooded.
“The worst floods in the country’s history” is what Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said. More than 33 million people have been affected and more than 1,500 have been killed. In addition, 2 million homes and 80,000 hectares of farmland were destroyed, with 800,000 livestock killed.
The Pakistani government has declared 66 districts in the country affected. About 6 million people are in urgent need of assistance with some living in camps set up specifically for displaced people. There are problems in the camps with too little food and poor sanitation.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned of a potential second disaster of disease and death after the floods. Water supplies have been disrupted, forcing many people to drink unsafe water, which can spread cholera and other diarrheal diseases.
Salesians in Quetta have launched several projects to aid the local population. Many families continue to be in need of food, shelter and medical care. “In addition, having lost so many livestock, which were part of their daily livelihood, their difficulties are enormous,” explained Brother Piero Ramello, a Salesian coadjutor in Lahore.
The Don Bosco Educational Society has received many requests for help from parishes, communities, families and Don Bosco alumni. The Salesian Delegation of Pakistan has planned a project for the Don Bosco Colony benefiting 56 families in Jacobabad, 40 families in Sukkur and 42 families in the Zahidabad area.
The Salesian Mission Office in Madrid has sent an initial shipment of several thousand euros to help meet the needs. The aid is expected to reach 138 families and nearly 1,000 people, almost half of whom are under the age of 15. The Don Bosco Past Pupils Association in Lahore is also participating in the operation. The immediate and urgent aid consists of tents, weather protection kits, food rations, medicines, blankets, water canisters, kitchen items, and soap.
Previously, Salesian missionaries provided help for earthquake victims in 2005, 2008 and 2010. Aid included emergency relief, food, shelter and medicines, and the reconstruction of homes and schools. Salesians also sprang into action to provide support for flood victims in the in Sindh region in 2012 and humanitarian assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Salesians in Pakistan operate schools and centers in Lahore and Quetta. Salesian schools provide economic benefits, scholarships and accommodations for students from the poorest families so that education is not only accessible but also an incentive for parents to send their children to school. Pakistan has one of the lowest literacy rates in South Asia at less than 50 percent. Although the country’s constitution acknowledges free and compulsory education between the ages of 5-16, the rule is often not followed in rural areas for those over age 13.
Photo courtesy of Misiones Salesianas
World Bank – Pakistan