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Bishop calls on Pakistan government to do more to help Christians describing desperate situation for flood victims

by Alex Collett

A bishop has described the desperate scenes after floods in Pakistan submerge a third of the country, with villagers going to extreme lengths to protect their livelihood. 

Bishop Samson Shukardin of Hyderabad has told Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) that the Pakistan government is not doing enough to support Christians who are suffering in the floods. 

During the floods between July and August this year, a total of 2,016,008 houses were damaged while 1,596 people and over one million animals were killed.

An official study revealed that the floods caused a combined loss of £1.52 billion. 

He visited the Catholic village Mariamnagar, Sindh province and from his findings he explained the serious situation there, Bishop Shukardian said: "Instead of protecting themselves, the locals had placed mosquito nets on their livestock. 

"The goats and cows are their source of income, as well as milk. It is very difficult to spend a single night in flooded villages due to mosquitos.

"All Church-run schools in the swamped rural areas are closed, their furniture is destroyed and the walls are leaking. I was born in Hyderabad but I have never seen so much rain in my life."

He added: "There is a lack of planning by the provincial government, accused of mismanaging the funds. It will take at least six months for the water to dry. There is no drainage system in the villages.

"None of the local parliamentarians have helped the Christians affected by the flood. Flood-related aid is also our aid."

"It's a serious situation. I am concerned about the coming months. The destruction continues after the torrential rains. A solidarity visit by clergy or religious is a great source of consolation for those trapped by flood waters."

Patras Baagh, a 65-year-old farmer in the region, told ACN: "The mosquitoes returned after a day of fumigation. The children are now being infected with throat infection, malaria, dengue and skin diseases. We don't have money to buy schoolbooks."

ACN committed £180,000 to provide emergency aid to more than 5,000 families and to help repair the damaged churches and community infrastructure in Hyderabad diocese. 

The charity agreed a further £27,000 for the Archdiocese of Karachi to distribute 310 food packages, cooking utensils and hygiene kits to struggling families. 

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