Nearly £20,000 raised in a week from Methodist Pakistan appeal

An appeal launched by the Methodist Relief and Development Fund(MRDF) has raised nearly £20,000 in a week after devastating floodshit Pakistan.

The funds will help to support some of the people affected by thedisaster, along with a £15,000 grant sent by the World Mission Fundto the Peshawar Diocese. The United Nations is warning of a secondwave of death and disease and food shortages. Over 1,600 peoplehave already died and 14 million have been affected by theflooding.

Authorities continue to evacuate people from their homes as heavymonsoon rains surge from north-west Pakistan into the south. Thereare reports of 2,000 villages being washed away in the Sindhprovince alone. Relief efforts have been hampered in some areas asflood waters destroyed roads and bridges and caused huge areas offorest to slide into villages, isolating thousands of survivors.Soldiers and aid workers struggled to reach them as helicopterswere grounded and had to use donkeys to deliver vital aid to someregions.

Speaking of the deteriorating situation, Alla Calma, DeputyDirector of Church World Service Pakistan's Disaster ManagementProgramme, reported that: 'While the needs of affected people maybe extensive, concerns about insufficient or no access tohealthcare and sanitation facilities are also increasing. Thelonger people remain without shelter, food, and safe drinkingwater, the higher the risks are for illness.'

Donations to MRDF's appeal are helping to provide food packages tofamilies in the Swat Valley and Kohistan Districts, some of theworst affected by the flooding. The packages include flour, rice,cooking oil and pulses. Gifts will also help to buy winterisedtents and plastic sheets. Vulnerable families in the Swat Valleyand Mansehra Districts will have access to medical attention,thanks in part to MRDF's appeal. Three mobile health clinics havebeen set up in these areas. MRDF is working through its emergencypartner in the region, Action by Church Together (ACT)International.

The grant sent by the World Mission Fund is supporting an emergencyRelief and Rescue programme for more than 1,300 families affectedby the floods. The Diocese of Peshawar is putting all its effortsinto reaching those still stranded by the floods and providingaffected families with food.

Steve Pearce, World Church Partnership Coordinator, said: 'It isdifficult to imagine suffering on this scale and in response we canonly pray and support those who are offering physical help. I knowMethodists will do both effectively. Our partner church in Peshawaris working with the Christian and Hindu minorities as well as theMuslim majority in the region and keeping in close contact with us.Please pray for Bishop Humphrey as he leads them.'

MRDF Director Kirsty Smith said: 'The torrential rains have had acatastrophic effect on so many communities. It looks likely toaffect even more people in the long-term than those affected by theAsian tsunami. Our emergency fund gives us - and the people whohave donated to it - the opportunity to provide swift and tangibleassistance to people in the midst of this crisis. We are verygrateful to everyone who has given, and we intend to support asmany people as we can in the immediate and longer-term.'

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.