When tragedy rocks the world
AS SCENES OF DEVASTATION FILLED OUR TV SCREENS IN 2013, WORLD OUTREACH INTERNATIONAL AND PARTNERS RESPONDED RAPIDLY TO EXTEND THE HAND OF CHRIST.
SHORTLY AFTER EXPERIENCING a 7.7 magnitude earthquake earlier this year, Pakistan received a deluge of rain. Overflowing river banks spewed out deadly flood waters, submerging vast areas of land and affecting millions of lives. Flooding caused extensive damage in North-eastern Pakistan, where many villages vanished under water.
World Outreach International received an urgent request from Asif Samuel, our Pakistani partner based in Lahore, to help the suffering victims in need of emergency supplies. WOI provided financial assistance to Asif and his team of volunteers, who travelled on treacherous roads throughout the night to join a local pastor in distributing basic food stuffs to destitute Christians and other people affected by the flooding. The magnitude of the need was overwhelming but they helped as many families as they could.
On a subsequent trip, Asif and his team were able to distribute more food items and mosquito coils to more than 550 families. A Christian doctor joined the team to provide medical assistance. The majority of patients were suffering from flood-related conditions such as diarrhoea and digestive problems caused by polluted drinking water. Victims shared common stories of how floodwaters had swept away the few belongings they possessed. This year’s flooding was the worst since 1993 when a huge flood ravaged Pakistan. Those who received aid in various forms were extremely grateful.
>> ON 22 SEPTEMBER, two young suicide bombers carrying grenades and pistols entered All Saints Church in Peshawar and detonated the explosives they were carrying, killing at least 85 people and injuring many more. Eyewitnesses reported mayhem as people frantically searched for their missing loved ones.
A state of emergency was declared by the authorities and the injured were sent to hospital, which was overwhelmed. Such are the situations in countries where Christians are persecuted. Through our Pakistan-based partners, WOI was able to extend help to several victimised families whose breadwinners were unable to continue working. There is unspeakable grief and pain following such violent attacks and we pray that the Holy Spirit will comfort those who have lost loved ones and help them to rebuild their lives after such tragedy.
>> EARLY LAST MONTH, one of the world’s most powerful and destructive typhoons on record struck the central Philippine islands. Typhoon Haiyan (or Yoland) whipped up waves higher than coconut trees, sweeping away everything before them. As the typhoon made its way westward, it left a trail of death, destruction, broken lives and lost livelihoods.
Relief by WOI personnel during the first two weeks focused on the island of Samar where most towns and villages were destroyed. The death toll on Samar was high. Bottled water, rice, tins of fish, packets of noodles and Lifestraw water filter units were distributed wherever WOI volunteers found survivors who had yet to receive any kind of help.
WOI will now focus on rebuilding 150 homes in at least three villages. WOI volunteer team member efforts will be involved in clearing properties and rebuilding houses. With more funds available, WOI hopes to also provide kitchen supplies, mosquito nets, chain and skill saws for each village, water filters and school books. With ongoing partnership in post-typhoon relief, WOI will likely be involved in rebuilding homes in the eastern islands for some months to come.
WOI would like to express our thanks to all donors who responded to the humanitarian crisis appeals in 2013. Your generous support has made a difference.
May God bless you!