August 16, 2010 Dear brothers and sisters : You have a family in Pakistan!
I am sure all of you are aware of the terrible situation we are faced with in Pakistan which has been caused by the heavy monsoon rains and floods. These monsoon rains started about two weeks ago and these have caused devastating floods all round the country. As BBC has written that "Pakistan under water". It is very true. According to the UN report 1,400 people have died and about 20 million people are directly affected by these worst floods of our history of the country.
As UN puts it that $460 million are needed in emergency aid to give some relief to these people who have been affected. The General Secretary of the United Nations, Mr. Ban Ki-moon has been to Pakistan on 14-15 August. Yesterday he visited one of the flood affected area near Multan. He said, the flooding in Pakistan was the worst disaster he had ever seen, and urged foreign donors to come forward to the help of about 20 million affected people. “This has been a heart-wrenching day for me, Mr. Ban said after visiting the flood hit area near Multan. He said, “I will never forget the destruction and suffering I have witnessed today. In the past I have witnessed many natural disasters around the world, but nothing like this.”
That is the situation we are faced with. No one had every witnessed such kind of destruction, misery and helplessness of the people. Our TV news channels are full of the horrific news and stories, showing the destroyed villages and cities, people caught in flood water struggling to save their lives and people are starving to death and how some relief goods are distributed among them, mostly through the helicopters - because most of these area roads are destroyed and bridges collapsed.
The present situation of Pakistan caused by floods is the worst one in our history. It is estimated that these floods have caused more damage than all together of the earthquake in Haiti, in Pakistan in 2005 and that of the tsunami.
Our Dominican family is also affected. Parts of our houses, church buildings and church compounds have been damaged. In particular the lay Dominicans have also been severely affected by these rains. Their homes have collapsed, crops destroyed and most of their animals killed. I know 30 houses of Dominican laity have collapsed in a village near Faisalabad. There are many more which I am not aware of. They are in grave need of not only to rebuild their homes but also are in need of food, shelter, and medicine.
There is a forecast of more heavy rains and floods. That will certainly bring more misery and suffering to our people. Please pray for us so that we maybe able to face these crucial times and all those families which are affected may get some comfort and relief. I will be happy to offer any assistance if any one of you would like to consider helping us in kind or cash for the flood victims have in Pakistan.
Thanks! Kindly remember that you have a family in Pakistan!!! With regards,
Fr James Channan OP Prior Vice Provincial Ibn-e-Mariam Vice Province, Pakistan
for more contact information : fr. Olivier Poquillon o.p. Permanent Delegate of the Order to the United Nations