LAHORE, Pakistan — As rains and flash floods continued drenching Pakistan, Caritas Pakistan workers entered the worst areas to assess damage and determine what type of aid was immediately needed.
A month of monsoon rains devastated several communities, claiming at least 78 lives, injuring dozens more and damaging or destroying 1,600 homes, the National Disaster Management Authority reported Sept. 10.
“Our teams are already in the field. We had been monitoring the heavy monsoon for a month and feared more damage,” Amjad Gulzar, executive secretary of Caritas Pakistan, told the Asian church news agency UCA News.
Urban flooding was reported in Hyderabad and Multan dioceses and Quetta apostolic vicariate. Many of those displaced in the most recent flooding had not been able to return to the communities they abandoned in flooding a year ago.
Catholic Relief Services staff also joined the assessment effort, visiting communities in southern Pakistan, including Sindh province and the Baluchistan region of Balochistan province, according an agency spokeswoman.
Monsoon rains have come late and are heavier than expected,” CRS reported. “Initial reports from affected communities and government agencies indicate that there are a number of homes that are destroyed and significant damage to agricultural lands.”
Flooding also damaged Our Lady of Fatima Church in Fatimapur, Punjab province.
“About 20 Christian families, most of them laborers and peasants, have had their ceilings collapse. A Catholic school is inundated with water from neighboring villages and has been closed,” said Fr. Ishaq Ghulam of the parish.
In Sindh province, Fr. Samson Shukardin, vicar-general of Hyderabad diocese said church leaders had difficulty reaching offices and schools.
“We are getting information about damaged houses in Christian slums in at least four districts,” he said.