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Pakistan churches flooded and 'possibly washed away' says Catholic aid charity

by Alex Collett
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A number of churches in Pakistan have been 'wiped out', according to a Catholic charity delivering emergency aid to flood victims. 

Church leaders, bishops, priests and lay leaders across Pakistan will help distribute food parecels, shelter and medicine to thousands of families  after a third of the country was submerged by floods. 

Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) has agreed two vital programmes for Sindh and Karachi, in response to urgent appeals from church leaders, who warned of a detrimental health crisis from people drinking contaminated water, and a potential spread of malaria. 

Over 5,000 families in the Hyderabad diocese will receive help from ACN totalling €200,000 (£172,000) including food parcels, mosquito nets and repellent. 

A further €30,000 (£25,000) will support people across Karachi and beyond, including hundreds of food packages, as well as hygiene kits and cooking utensils.

Mobile health clinics will also be set up as well as temporary shelters. 

ACN's head of press & information John Pontifex told Premier of the devastation that has hit churches within the country: "We've already had reports and the pictures showing the damage done to churches, entire churches flooded and damaged down and possibly some washed away. 

"I have been to Pakistan on three separate occasions and some of the churches, certainly in the outlying areas are very frankly, flimsy structures. 

"I would expect to receive more reports of churches suffering considerable damage, not to mention the other church buildings, on which the community depends for schooling, for housing, priests, and clergy, and training centres, and so on. 

"So we can expect an enormous infrastructure bill to come through at the end of all this, which please, God, will be soon."

 Bishop Samson Shukardin of Hyderabad told ACN: "Many of the families have taken refuge in local churches as their houses have been flooded with rainwater, but many of the churches are also flooded, which has caused damage to church buildings and community centres in the diocese."

"Thousands of families are surrounded by flood water and thousands are sitting by the roadside with improper facilities.

"They have no food, no clean drinking water, no shelter, no latrines and no health facilities."

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