By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
ISLAMABAD (Worthy News) – The evangelical Church of Christ (COC) congregation with several branches in flood-stricken Pakistan is rushing with aid to Christian slums, the church’s leader and evangelist told Worthy News on Thursday.
Christian living in slums “in the province of Sindh and south of Punjab province are among the most affected people” by Pakistan’s deadliest flooding in recent years.
At least some Christians are believed to be among more than 1,100 people killed, with one-third of Pakistan completely reportedly submerged by historic flooding.
Shahid Iqbal said COC is mobilizing funds to prevent more deaths and “help 45 Christian families and 115 denominational Christians in the slums.”
He stressed that Christian families had lost household items. “They immediately need food, bedding material, hygiene kits.” The evangelist saw devastation with Christians and others nearly drowning in dirty water, footage sent to Worthy News showed.
Many Christians live in poverty as they often face discrimination in finding jobs or are otherwise persecuted for their faith in the heavily Islamic nation, advocacy groups say.
Additionally, Christians do not always receive aid from the mainly Muslim authorities in emergencies, Worthy News learned.
Iqbal acknowledged that he and his team face an uphill battle to save lives. He noted that many children and women have already died “while more than 1700 are injured, and 364000 are misplaced. One million houses are totally or partially damaged, including two church buildings.”
He stressed that authorities had done little to reduce the risk of heavy flooding caused by monsoon rains, including in Christian slums.
The lack of preparedness forced the army to “deploy in critical areas as monsoon rains have wreaked havoc in the country for the last 20 days,” he explained.
While the COC is a congregation, he said it had experience providing humanitarian aid at difficult times. “In 2011, for instance, the COC in Pakistan also helped more than 30 flood-affected families with food packages in Sindh, Mirpurkhas, and Sanghar,” Iqbal recalled
“Since then, I am also preaching the Gospel. And I was able to help set up affiliated churches in Multan, Burewala, Hyderabad, and Toba towns.”
With the COC growing, they are now confronted with more spiritual and practical needs than ever, the evangelist suggested.
“We are requesting our brothers and sisters to please pray for us and open your hearts for Pakistani Christians,” he said.
“With this act of love, we shall be able to share the Gospel of our Lord among these souls,” the evangelist stressed.
“We all can help with food, water, hygiene kits, and bedding materials. Give love and hope to hopeless brothers and sisters.”
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