Pakistan and Afghanistan, Christian Aid Ministries

Flooding in Pakistan and Afghanistan

People in Pakistan and Afghanistan are desperate as they endure severe flooding after weeks of heavy rains. Millions have fled their homes for higher ground, wading through feet of water while carrying children and a few possessions. Walls and roofs have collapsed in the churning waters. Fields and villages have become lakes of muddy water.

At a glance

  • Floodwaters cover approximately 30% of Pakistan.
  • More than 1 million houses are destroyed.
  • An estimated 30 million are displaced. UNHCR

Pakistan and Afghanistan’s usual monsoon season brought far more rain than normal this year, creating the worst flooding the countries have experienced in decades. Reports say that floodwaters cover nearly 30 percent of Pakistan. “It is water as far as you could see,” says Pakistan’s prime minister. “It’s just like a sea.”  The number of deaths is hard to determine, but our contacts say “thousands have died.”

In Pakistan, more than 30 million people were forced from their homes by the floodwaters. Some people stayed in their homes for as long as possible, hoping the water would go down. But it kept rising. Realizing the danger, they fled for higher ground in the dark of night. In one case, men used a bed frame and rope to rescue stranded people. While living in makeshift shelters, many people face the reality that the homes they left behind are severely damaged or destroyed. Traditional houses in rural South Asian villages are often built of mud, grass, and wood, making them vulnerable in the heavy rains. Entire homes have been swept away. The surging waters have damaged or destroyed more than 1 million houses. Those who are displaced are left to survive with few possessions, flimsy shelters or plastic tents, and little food. A Pakistani father said, “Rain takes our everything. My house is gone.” In Afghanistan, some flood victims are sheltering in schools. They “are sleeping on the ground and have nothing,” said a CAM contact.

Damaged infrastructure

like roads and bridges make it difficult for aid to reach flooded regions. Some villages are nearly cut off from the rest of the country. Floodwaters have also destroyed acres of crops that were nearing harvest. In rural areas, many farmers withdraw loans to buy seeds and fertilizer, then repay their loans at harvest time. “This time, farmers will not only have the harvest loss but also the debt repayment,” says a CAM contact. Atheel,* a farmer in Pakistan, lost his cotton crop in the heavy rains. He said, “It takes me years back. A few years ago I paid all my debt to the landlord, and this rain puts me in debt again.” He added, “Nothing is left for me and my family.”

How can we help?

A CAM contact says that one of the greatest needs is prayer. Across Pakistan and Afghanistan, people are reeling from the loss of homes, livelihoods, possessions, and loved ones. Pray that they would turn to the God who is “a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm . . .” (Isaiah 25:4) We are working with trusted contacts to provide aid including food, blankets, mats, and hygiene items. Our desire is to point suffering people to Jesus through words and actions. As the crisis further develops, we will continue to research needs in the region and see how we can assist. If you would like to help, please see the response coupon below. God bless you! *Name is changed to protect identity.