Methodists respond to Pakistan emergency

With over 1,400 people dead and three million people affectedafter heavy flooding in Pakistan, the Methodist Relief andDevelopment Fund (MRDF) and the Methodist Church are supportingefforts to help the survivors.

There are fears that the number of casualties and homeless willrise as rescuers gain access to hard-to-reach areas where roadswere destroyed. Initial aerial pictures show that whole villageshave been washed away. There are also concerns that diseases suchas cholera and diarrhoea will spread as there is a limited supplyof clean water.

MRDF has set up an emergency fund and donations will be channelledthrough its partner Action by Churches Together (ACT)International, which is responding to some of the immediate needs.This includes providing food and temporary shelter to some of themost vulnerable communities, as well as setting up mobile healthclinics.

In an appeal for help, the Bishop of Peshawar, Rt Revd HumphreyPeters, said: "The monsoon rains have caused havoc all overPakistan, but the Khyber Pakhtunkwa province has been hit hard bythe floods. Thousands of villages are under water and hundreds ofpeople are either dead or missing. All road links within theProvince have been cut down, relief workers are trying to reachthrough boats or on foot."

In response the World Mission Fund has agreed to send an immediategrant of £15,000 to the Diocese, which has launched an emergencyRelief and Rescue programme for more than 1300 families affected bythe floods. The Diocese is putting all its efforts into reachingthose still stranded by the floods and proving affected familieswith food.

World Church Partnership Coordinator Steve Pearce said: "The Churchof Pakistan, which is a united church, is doing its utmost tominister to as many people as it can. The Christian community is asmall minority in Pakistan and is heartened by our prompt supportand most of all by our prayer. We ask people to pray for all thoseaffected by this disaster, for safety and for their needs to bemet." A special prayer for use by churches and individuals isavailable online here.

Simeon Mitchell, MRDF's Fundraising Director, said: "This is theworst flooding Pakistan has experienced in over 70 years, and hasaffected a region already dealing with poverty and conflict. Theimmediate priorities are getting people to places of safety andtrying to prevent the outbreak of waterborne diseases. In the longterm, restoring the communities and livelihoods swept away by thefloods will be a major challenge. Donations to our appeal will helpalleviate some of the suffering in the short term, and empowerpeople to begin rebuilding their lives."

To donate to MRDF's emergency fund, visit www.mrdf.org.uk, or call 0207224 4814 to give by debit or credit card or by a cheque madepayable to 'MRDF (Pakistan emergency)' and sent to MRDF, 25Marylebone Road, London NW1 5JR.

Taxpayers are encouraged to gift aid their donations wherepossible, adding 28p to every pound they give, at no extra personalcost.