Updated: October 29, 2021 10:09 AM GMT
Archbishop Benny Mario Travas with other dignitaries at the Oct. 27 distribution of rent assistance to Christian families affected by the anti-encroachment drive in Karachi, Pakistan. (Photo supplied)
Caritas Karachi has extended cash support to 60 Christian families affected by an anti-encroachment drive by local authorities in the port city of Sindh province in southern Pakistan.
The families from the parishes of St. Jude’s, St. Philip’s and St. Michael’s in the Archdiocese of Karachi will be able to rent new places after being forcibly evicted from their dwellings.
Archbishop Benny Mario Travas was the chief guest at the Oct. 27 distribution ceremony attended by local parish priests along with the beneficiaries and volunteers of Caritas Karachi.
In his welcome remarks, Mansha Noor, executive secretary of Caritas Karachi, said the volunteers were the backbone of Caritas’ work as they were the ones who identified and reached out to affected families.
He also mentioned the guidance, encouragement and support of Archbishop Travas and the parish priests who had helped them reach the evicted families with shelter and cash support for rent, food, hygiene kits and kitchen sets.
The archbishop thanked the benefactors from Missio Austria, Caritas Japan, Caritas Italiana and Caritas Pakistan who were financially helping and supporting the affected families.
God loves everyone, especially the poor and those who are living in difficult conditions like you after your homes were demolished by the government
Amir Robin, regional coordinator for Caritas, described their eviction emergency response. “We trained our staff and volunteers to gather the data of affected families, identify the most deserving and vulnerable evicted people through Google,” he explained.
Caritas will continue to support the evicted families through the restoration of their livelihoods, skill training for youths and women, psychosocial and educational support to children and promotion of small businesses.
Archbishop Travas said: “God loves everyone, especially the poor and those who are living in difficult conditions like you after your homes were demolished by the government.”
He thanked the staff and volunteers at Caritas for their commitment and hard work.
Anti-encroachment drives have become a repeat feature ever since a court order to remove the informal settlements mushrooming near two narrow streams passing through Karachi, locally known as the Gujjar nullah and the Orangi nullah, in the wake of the 2019 flash floods.
In June, UN human rights experts called on Pakistan to stop evicting close to 100,000 people living alongside the waterways.
According to a statement by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the anti-encroachment drive by city authorities was carried out "without adequate consultation with the affected residents, no relocation plan, and disparate and insufficient compensation for the displaced.”
….as we enter the last months of 2021, we are asking readers like you to help us keep UCA News free.
For the last 40 years, UCA News has remained the most trusted and independent Catholic news and information service from Asia. Every week, we publish nearly 100 news reports, feature stories, commentaries, podcasts and video broadcasts that are exclusive and in-depth, and developed from a view of the world and the Church through informed Catholic eyes.
Our journalistic standards are as high as any in the quality press; our focus is particularly on a fast-growing part of the world - Asia - where, in some countries the Church is growing faster than pastoral resources can respond to – South Korea, Vietnam and India to name just three.
And UCA News has the advantage of having in its ranks local reporters who cover 23 countries in south, southeast, and east Asia. We report the stories of local people and their experiences in a way that Western news outlets simply don’t have the resources to reach. And we report on the emerging life of new Churches in old lands where being a Catholic can at times be very dangerous.
With dwindling support from funding partners in Europe and the USA, we need to call on the support of those who benefit from our work.