ISLAMABAD, Pakisan —
Baptists around the globe are responding to the floods that have afflicted
Pakistan for two weeks, sending money and resources in the aftermath of what
could become the nation’s biggest natural disaster in modern times.
According to United Nations
estimates, nearly 1,700 people have died in the floods and as many as 14
million more have been affected — with many millions left at least temporarily
homeless. They were spurred along the Indus River watershed by unusually heavy
seasonal monsoon rains, and floodwaters continued to travel southward Aug. 13.
Southern Baptists in the
United States sent an initial $20,000 and British Baptists contributed about
U.S. $16,000 shortly after the floods began. Additional contributions have
augmented both of those grants.
According to Baptist Global
Response, a Southern Baptist relief-and-development agency, the U.S. funds have
paid for rescuers, food, tents for displaced survivors, medicine and other
BMS World Mission, the
missions affiliate of the Baptist Union of Great Britain, does not have any
missions workers in Pakistan, but is
working with a partner agency in the nation to provide food relief.
“We need to deliver all that
is required as soon as possible,” said John Holmes, the U.N. undersecretary
general for humanitarian affairs, according
to a U.N. press release. “The death toll has been relatively low
compared to other major natural disasters. But if we don’t act fast enough,
many more people could die of disease and food shortage.”
The U.N. has appealed for
$460 million in funds to respond to the crisis. So far, about $150 million has
been contributed or pledged by donors.
Experts warned Aug. 13 that
many more lives could be lost due to the spread of disease and lack of
sanitation in stricken areas — many of which are in remote parts of the nation
of 177 million.
In addition, long-term work
will be needed after the floodwaters have receded, according to
relief-and-development experts. The floods have destroyed much of Pakistan’s
“With disasters of this kind, the bigger challenges
often come during the later recovery phase of work, when homes, sanitation and
livelihoods need to be restored, and it is very probable that BMS will be
looking to help during that phase as well,” said Steve Sanderson, manager for
mission partnerships at BMS World Mission.