According to the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), an estimated 33 million people have been affected by the “worst flooding in decades "and more than 1,000 people, mostly children”, have died since mid-June when heavy rains began pounding the country, Jens Laerke, spokesperson for the UN humanitarian coordination office, OCHA, said on Tuesday.
Sixty-six districts have been declared under a state of calamity by the Government of Pakistan – 31 in Balochistan, 23 in Sindh, 9 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and 3 in Punjab. The number of calamity-declared districts is expected to rise as rains continue to fall. As of August 25, Pakistan has experienced 375.4 mm of rainfall – 2.87 times higher than the national 30-year average of 130.8 mm.
The adverse weather conditions have incurred significant human and livestock casualties and widespread damage to private homes and public infrastructure. Over 218,000 houses have been destroyed and a further 452,000 damaged since 14 June (cf. NDMA). Livelihoods are also being heavily impacted – more than 793,900 livestock – a critical source of sustenance and livelihoods for many families – have died and around 2 million acres of crops and orchards have also been impacted, including at least 304,000 acres in Balochistan, 178,000 acres in Punjab and some 1.54 million acres in Sindh. Damage to infrastructure has further worsened the humanitarian situation, as partial or complete destruction of over 3,000 km of roads and 145 bridges impedes the ability of people to flee to safer areas or to travel to access markets, healthcare, or other vital services, and restricts the delivery of aid to people in need. Internet outages have also been reported.
Provisional data from provincial Education Departments show that at least 17,566 schools have been damaged or destroyed due to the emergency: 15,842 in Sindh, 544 in Balochistan and 1,180 in Punjab. Additionally, at least 5,492 schools are reportedly being used to accommodate displaced people.
On the Indus River, which traverses the length of Pakistan, the Tarbela Dam in KP province – the world’s largest earth-filled dam – has already reached its maximum conservation level of 1,550 feet (472 meters).
In the face of misery and suffering caused by floods and heavy rains, the Lay Camillian Family and the Camillians in Pakistan, fulfilling their spiritual commitment, want to respond to this humanitarian crisis. In the Dioceses of Hyderabad and Faisalabad, where the most marginalized people live and need support, the Camillians have a group of the Lay Camillian Family.
The emergency intervention aims to reach a total of 10,000 people in the parishes of St. Francis Solanus, Nawabshah, Sacred Heart Parish, Jhang, and St. John Paul II.
The objective of the intervention is to save lives and alleviate the suffering of the affected population by providing  food packs for a month,  clothes  toys for children to minimize boredom and stress  medicines and medication for ordinary sickness and wounds, and  in case of necessity, hospitalization and treatment.
“Let us pray together for the people of Pakistan, hit by floods of disastrous proportions. Let us pray for the numerous victims, for the wounded and those forced from their homes, and that international solidarity might be prompt and generous.” Pope Francis appeal for Pakistan
Floods have wreaked havoc in the lives of the people. In this dire situation and natural calamity, inflation touches the sky. Poor humanity is suffering and misery is reining.
Fr. Mushtaq Anjum, MI
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