Church Collection 21/22 August 2010

Over 1600 people have died and more than 2 million are homeless

Our diocese will be joining all Irish dioceses in holding a special church collection for the Trócaire Pakistan Floods appeal.

Trócaire is the offical overseas development agency of the Catholic Church in Ireland.

For more information – www.trocaire.org

A Letter from Paul Healy, Trócaire’s Regional Manager in Islamabad.

Dear Friends,

It has been a catastrophic period for many in Pakistan. Millions of people were, over the past twelve months, traumatized from being displaced by armed conflict. Now, just as they return, they are seeing their homes, their meagre livelihoods and even their loved ones being washed away by torrential floods – the worst floods in living memory.

Frantic phone calls came to the Trócaire office in Islamabad, from people as far away as the United States, trying to get information about, and help for, loved ones. Their families were on rooftops in danger of being submerged, their villages are stranded and still in grave danger. Access and communication is limited. The land is like a desolate waste. People are feeling devastated and alone in their plight. Army helicopters fly above which only increases the sense of isolation. Families have lost everything. They need support now and in the weeks and months ahead to rebuild their lives.

It is the local community themselves who are the first to respond in any humanitarian crisis. Our partners are the local communities and this is our unique way of working on the ground in developing countries.

  • Trócaire is getting food, water, water purification tablets, cooking utensils, high-energy biscuits for children and sanitary supplies to survivors. We have also been in touch with Irish missionaries in Pakistan to offer any assistance they need to provide relief in their parishes and beyond.
  • In one area called Nowshera, in the northwest, our partners began providing pre-cooked meals to over 300 families the weekend the flooding began.

As the floods swept through the northern districts, Trócaire also began looking south to Sindh, where the waters would inevitably flow. We worked with communities to prepare for the worst. We helped families prepare to move quickly to higher ground if the waters came – which they did. As the rains continued to pour, these evacuation plans sadly became a reality.

  • Our work so far has included the evacuation of 8,000 people trapped in at-risk areas in the southern province of Sindh.
  • In the northwest of Pakistan, near the city of Peshawar, another fifty thousand people are receiving food packages and water, blankets and plastic sheets for shelter and hygiene kits to prevent the spread of disease.

We have been able to do this because of the strong support and legitimacy that we receive from parishes all over Ireland. It is from the church at home that we get our vision, our mission and our strength. It is my hope that this support will be there now for the most vulnerable in Pakistan in the coming months.

Please keep the people of Pakistan in your prayers during this difficult time.

Yours Sincerely,

Paul Healy
Islamabad, Pakistan

Prayer of the Faithful

Lord,
We pray that in their hour of need the people of Pakistan will receive the food, shelter and security they need.
We pray also that they will receive comfort in this time of suffering and distress.
We pray for the work of aid agencies like Trócaire who are working with people whose lives have been devastated by the flooding.
May they have the strength and inner peace to continue their work in the weeks and months ahead.