Baptists respond to massive Pakistan flooding
Robert Marus, Associated Baptist Press
August 16, 2010

Baptists respond to massive Pakistan flooding

Baptists respond to massive Pakistan flooding
Robert Marus, Associated Baptist Press
August 16, 2010

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

already-tenuous infrastructure.

“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.