By Fr. Louie Ybanez
Columban Fr. Louie Ybanez shared this updated from his mission in flood ravaged Pakistan:
I am currently working in the Parish of St. Francis Xavier Khipro in the Diocese of Hyderabad, Pakistan. I minister to almost 200 hundred Pakari Kohli families in six places with around eleven villages. These villages are the farthest from the parish center. The majority of the families work as laborers in farmland owned by landlords. Life is difficult for most of these families, and it even became more unbearable with the recent flood that left many of them homeless and struggling to meet their daily food needs and to access clean drinking water. Some are left to campout beside roads and anywhere in elevated areas. The Interior Sindh stretches for miles and miles of flatlands leaving flood water stagnant in many areas. Mosquitos are everywhere causing more and more people to get sick with malaria. In my recent visit to one of the villages, children are getting sick with water related illnesses also. Their livestock also has suffered, and many animals died.
The families need an immediate response which includes food, temporary shelter such as tents, and access to clean water. Long term responses such as assistance in building their homes and finding ways to make it flood resilient will be needed when the water in the areas recedes. So far, we have distributed 246 food packages, tents, and mosquito nets to affected Christian families in the villages where I am working. There will be more that will be given to other families in the coming days including the non-Christians as well. The flood victims will need more of our help to meet their essential needs in the next few weeks.