“While we are experiencing the Covid-19 emergency, heavy rains of this monsoon season have hit the province of Sindh, especially the great metropolis of Karachi, capital of the province. It is time for all of Pakistan to step forward to help the people affected by the floods that have submerged the city”: this is what Fr. Qaisar Feroz OFM Cap, Executive Secretary of the Commission for Social Communications of the Catholic Bishops of Pakistan stressed, speaking of the floods that have severely put to the test the south of Pakistan, devastating the city of Karachi.
Fr. Qaisar Feroz, who follows several groups of volunteers such as that of the Capuchins in Karachi, hopes: “The poor should not be ignored and the government must play a vital role in helping people in this time of need”. Fr. Qaisar, who served in Karachi for six years, observes: “Within a week, people in the city will also suffer from skin diseases, abdominal diseases and various other infections due to the rains and floods”.
Fr. Nazir John OFM Cap, in charge of the Capuchins in Karachi and coordinator of the group of volunteers called “Ambassadors of Christ”, reports to Fides: “In the last three days, we have distributed food to 600 people, we serve 200 displaced people daily. We started distributing breakfast to 100 families in our area”. Fr Nazir informs: “Without any discrimination of belief, we are reaching people in the slums, where people are in serious difficulty and are really poor”.
Mansha Noor, Executive Secretary of Caritas in Karachi, speaking to Fides says: “Since the first day of emergency, the Disaster Management Committee of Caritas Karachi has organized the distribution of food and bottles of mineral water, reaching more than 1000 families. We also distributed tarpaulins especially to families who saw the roof of their house damaged due to heavy rain”. Mansha Noor also reports: “In the first two days (28 and 29 August) it was very difficult to reach people, even given the lack of electricity and the lack of cell phone networks. Many volunteered with us to distribute food door to door, walking in the water, in the streets”. The Secretary notes: “Rainwater along with sewage water also entered our Caritas office, ruining material and furnishings, or destroying documents. But, despite these difficulties, we continue our mission of being close to the needy”.
The rains, typical of the monsoon season, began on 22 August, and a second period lasted from 25 to 27 August causing extensive damage. Much infrastructure in Karachi is destroyed. The city is still submerged and all 7 traffic underpasses are filled with water. The Pakistani Ranger and Navy forces have initiated rescue operations.
Twenty districts of Sindh province, including all six districts of Karachi city, have been declared a “state of calamity” as the government commissioner responsible for the relief of Sindh province informed. Prime Minister Imran Khan assured the government’s full support to the city of Karachi, activating an emergency response.