Fr. Tomas King provided the following update regarding the floods and relief efforts (which the Columban Fathers are a part of) in Pakistan:
The relief work continues and is carried out by many different groups and organizations both inside and outside the Church. This includes some parishes which were affected by the floods and are receiving support from Columban benefactors. The relief work will continue for a considerable length of time.
The relief work includes distributing food packages and medical help. As we begin the winter season, there will be a need for warm clothes and bedding plus choirpoys, i.e. stringed beds. Immediately after the floods many people were sleeping on the ground, leaving themselves more open to the risk of insect and snake bites.
The Columban parish of Badin continues to support people who were affected by the flood in part of the parish. The St. Elizabeth’s medical outreach team continues its work to the affected areas, and the Columban Sisters also continue their relief work.
The small parish of Jati is one of the areas where stagnant water is still present. The people in Jati own their own small holdings but cannot plant a crop until the water clears. Until the water recedes, the families will receive a stipend to tide them over until the land is ready for cultivation. At that stage they will also receive assistance with seeds and fertilizers.
It is more difficult and complex to offer such help to people who don’t have their own land and are living on the lands of landlords and are in debt to them. For example, a man from the village (shown in the photos) was arrested and put in jail at the behest of a false charge brought by the landlord, because he was unable to pay his debt. Some landlords will demand payment for their often falsely exaggerated debts if they see their bonded laborers receiving overt help. So help will have to be given in a more discreet way.
Fr. Tomas King lives and works in Pakistan.