PAKISTAN: Salesian missionaries respond to devastating flooding
Don Bosco Education Society in Pakistan is receiving requests for support
(MissionNewswire) Salesian missionaries in Pakistan are responding with food aid and other supplies after record flooding devastated more than a third of the country. On August 30, officials in Pakistan noted that 80 of 160 districts in the country were declared a disaster zone. The flooding, caused by record monsoon rain and glacial melt, has affected 33 million people and killed almost 1,400, washing away homes, roads, railways, livestock, and crops. There is an estimated $30 billion in damages.
Salesians report that close to 6 million people are in need of urgent help, with some living in ad hoc camps with very little food, and no hygiene and sanitation. The catastrophic impact continues with many cases of disease in camps and villages while there is a lack of medicines. People are being impacted by dengue fever, malaria, diarrhea, hepatitis and typhoid.
Some countries and international charities are in the process of sending help, but the delivery of tangible aid on the ground is slow. Aside from the much-needed emergency relief, there is a need to offer support to recovery.
Don Bosco Education Society in Pakistan is receiving requests for support from parishes, communities, families, and Don Bosco past pupils. Salesians have launched the Don Bosco Colony Jacobabad project to help families in the region. Don Bosco Past Pupils Association in Lahore is helping to raise funding and aid relief. Salesians report the most immediate needs are tents, shelter kits, food, medicines, blankets, water containers, cooking items and soap.
“Salesian missionaries live in the communities in which they work and are perfectly positioned to help in times of crisis,” said Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “They are able to see firsthand where the most need is and ensure that aid reaches those areas and families in need.”
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.
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World Bank – Pakistan