Flood relief brings hope to destitute Sindhi Christians

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Karachi: A BACA team disaster recovery team headed by Pastor Musa (63 yrs) leading our partner group Victory Church, has since then been visiting several local communities of, Goth Ibrahim Khan Village, Mari Tahalka in the Sindh. A very remote area about fifteen kilometres from the city of Karachi. We have now made 4 trips and given groceries and mosquito nets to over 250 families.

Our Operations Manager spoke about the journey, he said: "Drivers usually avoid going such remote village places due to inconsistent roads built poorly if any.

"Certain roads are still under rain and flood water so it was a really hard job to drive through such dangerous terrain".

"Around 25 Christian families live in Goth Ibrahim and all of them are Hindu converts." explained Pastor Musa.

"They live in mud huts which leaves them vulnerable to damage or collapse in heavy rain and floods.

"It then takes them months to rebuild their huts living under makeshift tents made from pieces of cloth till they are able to recover.

"These people are serfs tilling the land of Waderas (Landlords) earning a pittance and barely surviving."

The Christians involved in this labour are warned that they are not permitted to work for anybody else except their landlords, with the threat of violence for anyone who breaches this rule. The families are very much in servitude to the landowners and have to be on call 24 hours for any emergencies. We have also been advised that there must always be someone in the community who runs the errand of collecting and distributing messages for the landlord to the indentured labourers.

Ravi Masih (31 yrs) , a local village land tiller, said: "Rains in August affected us badly, water entered into our huts and the boundary walls collapsed.

"We had to flee to safer areas - there were miles and miles of devastation.

"We laid our tents on the roads and lived there for almost two weeks.

"When we returned to what was left of our homes all we saw was ruin and lass - it was heartbreaking.

After the flood waters dissipated it left large pools of stagnant water which favoured the breeding of mosquitoes. Many of the villagers began to become ill, but as di their livestock due to the transmission of waterborne and mosquito-transferred diseases.

There is a government hospital in the vicinity but villagers were unable to reach it due to flood water. With no medical facility in the village people have been suffering from Dengue Fever, Malaria and dysentery the worst cases have travelled the far distance to hospitals but will need help with the cost of ongoing treatment. Others go untreated because they cannot afford or find it hard to travel or are worried about the costs for medicine and ongoing treatment. There is no medical facility in the village so BACA has organised a medical camp for next week and we will be supplying free treatments.

A person usually earns 300 PKR (£1.41) for a full day's labouring in the fields. This year the cotton crop has been swept away due to the heavy torrential rains families have no source of income and are prevented from working elsewhere. Food shortage and an inability to buy clothes, furniture or building materials and other equipment has meant families have been living very destitute lives.

“This package is a big relief in times of hunger” said Daniel (21 yrs), the son of Pastor Musa.

Despite the recent torrential rains, the Christians villager have scant access to clean water. In the village there is just one hand pump which is used by other the entire village. Queues for clean water can take hours and there is not one toilet in the village. Unfortunately, this places local women at the mercy of local sexual predators and we have been told that a Christian girl was raped last year and murdered when a sickle was pushed through her back. Local men bathe in local rivers while women section of a portion of their homes for an internal bucket-bath behind cloth

Ravi Masih explained, he said: “Our children and women have to go out in the open fields to alleviate themselves. We are always afraid for them”

BACA would like to build a new toilet and pump facility for these families. This will reduce the size of the queues for clean water and provide a safe place for vulnerable women and children to wash and relieve themselves. We will build a separate washroom facility for men some distance away. We also hope to raise enough funds to build some brick homes to replace the mud homes that have been washed away, so that reinstated homes can withstand future heavy deluges. These homes will also be built on a high plinth to channel high waters away from the main building.

 

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"Trial of Pakistani Christian Nation" By Nazir S Bhatti

On demand of our readers, I have decided to release E-Book version of "Trial of Pakistani Christian Nation" on website of PCP which can also be viewed on website of Pakistan Christian Congress www.pakistanchristiancongress.org . You can read chapter wise by clicking tab on left handside of PDF format of E-Book.

nazirbhattipcc@aol.com , pakistanchristianpost@yahoo.com