Catholic Aid Reaches Cyclone-Hit Pakistan

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, JULY 6, 2007 ( Catholic aid agencies are responding to the urgent needs of those affected by rains and a cyclone that swept through two provinces of southern Pakistan.

Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and Caritas Pakistan joined other aid agencies to help some 250,000 people in the Kech district affected by Cyclone Yemyin, which hit June 26.

As many as 211 people are believed to have died since heavy rains causing flooding began June 23.

Gul Wali Khan, emergency director of CRS Pakistan, said: “The most pressing needs are for those living under an open sky. They are exposed to the rain and will be in a terrible condition when the monsoon season comes.

“I was reminded of the devastation after the 2006 earthquake, when houses were just buried under the mud. Here, too, people kept telling us of houses that were there, and we couldn’t see any sign of that house, nothing but the mud under our feet.”

Khan added: “Livestock is buried under the mud; water infrastructure is fully damaged, forcing people to get water from local rivers and streams that are polluted; and people are reporting incidences of scabies, diarrhea, gastro-intestinal illness. Clean water and hygiene are of critical concern.”