Christine Allen, Director of CAFOD recently wrote to me about the devastating floods in Pakistan and how we can help…
Dear Bishop Philip,
I hope you are keeping well. You may have seen recent news reports about the floods in Pakistan. The loss of life has only just begun, but the situation is extremely harrowing. One third of the country is underwater, with 33 million people affected – displaced and facing loss of homes. We know that the reports of deaths and the true impact of the situation is currently seriously under-reported. Such a scale of flooding will also have a significant medium and long-term effect. For instance, we know that crops have been damaged : it is estimated that 45% of the cotton crop has been washed away, and the impact on production of food has yet to be truly calculated.
CAFOD has already released £100,000 for one of our partner organisations in Sindh Province to support efforts to provide food (cash assistance) and emergency medical assistance. We have an appeal on our website: Pakistan Floods Appeal | CAFOD. You will know that in times of such emergencies, the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) coordinates the efforts of fifteen international NGOs in their response. The scale of the need has meant the conditions have been met to require launching an all member DEC appeal. This was launched today, Thursday 1 September. I am writing to let you know that as members of the DEC, we will be contacting parishes (priests and volunteers) to let them know about the appeal. Despite the difficult times for all of us, I know that many will be thinking about the situation in Pakistan, offering prayers and looking for ways to respond.
This is just one example of how the climate crisis is affecting the world’s poor. In the Horn of Africa, CAFOD is supporting partners who are facing the opposite effect: severe droughts as a result of the failure of the last four rains. Hunger is rife across Kenya, Ethiopian and Somalia, reaching as far as South Sudan. After many years of drought, a large-scale famine is looking likely. Local CAFOD partners are providing much needed emergency assistance and this will be the focus of our forthcoming Fast Day on Friday 7 October. You can see some of how we are responding here: World Food Crisis Appeal | CAFOD.
I know that the current economic environment at home is a perfect storm for so many in our parishes who face the challenges of higher food and fuel costs too. The love of the body of Christ knows no boundaries and I know that the church community is reaching out to help those at home as well as far away.
In these difficult times, I appreciate that having an emergency appeal for Pakistan followed shortly by our regular Harvest Fast Day will be very difficult for many people and parishes. It is not something we have planned. But CAFOD simply cannot afford to lose the vital funds that are raised at Fast Day for our on-going work to support the people and communities around the world who are denied the opportunity to live with dignity.
I hope you appreciate the information and please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions about the DEC appeal, CAFOD’s forthcoming Fast Day or our work in general.
In the meantime we keep all those who hunger in our prayers.
With our continued thanks for your support