“One of the most important things you can do on this earth is to let people know they are not alone.”
― Shannon L. Alder
Many Franciscan missionaries around the world serve the needs of the poor, homeless, orphaned and handicapped. Together, we offer them hope in places where hope is rare.
In times of crisis and uncertainty, our willingness to help others is a true measure of our faith in Jesus Christ and love for our fellow man. Perhaps our message of hope has never been more needed. Today, many people around the world are suffering the tragedy of war, famine and the effects of climate change.
In Pakistan, Franciscan missionaries along with other NGO’s and government entities are supporting hundreds of thousands of people affected by severe flash flooding from torrential monsoon rains. Since June 2022, this unprecedented natural disaster is responsible for widespread loss of life, flooded farmland and destruction of homes and infrastructure. Today, waterborne diseases, malnutrition and homelessness are contributing to an even greater need for support by our Franciscan community.
The United Nations has issued a new appeal for more than $800m (£700m) for flood-hit Pakistan. The funds, a five-fold increase on the previous request, would help families and children battle malnutrition and infection in what is now a public health emergency. It comes as the country struggles to cope after more than 2,000 hospitals and health centers were damaged or destroyed in recent floods, which left almost 1,700 people dead.
~ BBC News – October 4, 2022
USAID chief Samantha Power, who visited Pakistan last month, said she had seen a “sunken world” from the floods which killed more than 1,700 people and 1.2 million livestock and at their height submerged one-third of the country. “For those who survived, unimaginable challenges still lie ahead. Although the water is receding, the damage remains vast,” she said in a statement.
~ NDTV: World News – October 27, 2022
Fr. Moghal Peter, OFM is the Custos of the Franciscan Custody of St. John the Baptist in Pakistan. His written request for assistance is short and direct. “We need help. At present the rain has stopped but standing water with dead animals and submerged crops is terrible. There is no food for the many surviving families or grazing areas to feed the few surviving animals. There is no clean drinking water and insects are swarming among the homeless and unprotected villagers.”
The friars are helping over 1,000 families with food, water, and some protection from the elements. Just recently they were able to distribute some mosquito nets. Fr. Moghal tells us that many of the people are getting sick, especially the children, from wading through flooded areas or drinking tainted water.
Reported cases of malaria, dengue, acute watery diarrhea (AWD) and cholera are on the rise among flood-affected communities, posing a particular health threat in areas where floodwaters remain the longest.
Many hospitals and medical facilities were damaged or destroyed from the floods. Many flood survivors with illnesses are unable to find medical help. So, medicines and medical treatment are in short supply and must be delivered over submerged roads either by boat or by air.
These people make a meager existence as farmers. Most of the families have lost their homes, livestock, crops, livelihoods and income. When the water subsides, they will not have money to buy seeds or fertilizer to re-establish their crops.
Please help the friars to continue their relief efforts. Together, we offer them hope and the knowledge that they are not alone.
Your brother in Christ,
Brother. Andrew Brophy, OFM
P.S. Please be as generous today as your heart leads you and your resources allow. God will remember you for your compassion to the poor in the missions.