Kamran Chaudhry, Lahore
Updated: August 10, 2020 10:11 AM GMT
A Caritas Pakistan Karachi emergency response team visits flooded St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church on Aug. 8. (Photo: CPK)
Masses have been suspended in two Catholic churches in Pakistan's Karachi Archdiocese after torrential monsoon rain.
Thick black sludge covered the compound of St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in the Shahjahanabad area following flooding after three days of heavy downpours in the port city. Five feet of water stood in Shahjahanabad, home to 45 Catholic families. The church was also swamped last month due to flash flooding.
The wall of a church in the Sadiq Nagar slum collapsed due to heavy rain. Both churches belong to St. Philip’s Parish of the southern archdiocese.
According to the latest report by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), 58 people have died while 128 houses have been damaged around Pakistan since the beginning of the monsoon last month.
Last week Prime Minister Imran Khan asked the Pakistan Army and the NDMA to help in cleaning up Karachi, where roads are flooded with rainwater mixed with garbage.
Volunteers from Caritas Pakistan Karachi (CPK) disaster management committees (DMCs) showed up to help clear the sludge away from St. Francis Xavier Church.
A Caritas emergency response team visited the flood-affected parish at the weekend.
“The objective of the visit was to see the damage and strengthen coordination between DMCs, Caritas and the Union Council for relief work,” Mansha Noor, executive secretary of CPK, told UCA News.
“This monsoon season has turned into a nightmare for poor people who are forced to stay outside their houses or to spend time on shared roofs. The slum dwellers are forced to deal with it on their own as no concrete steps are taken by the relevant authorities. Women and children are falling ill due to waterborne diseases.”
CPK distributed cooked food and drinking water in St. Michael’s Parish on Aug. 9. Noor also handed over emergency response kits to DMC members in Shahjahanabad.
“DMC members are our frontline heroes in disaster management for saving people and their belongings. They are cleaning churches on a self-help basis and creating awareness regarding evacuation and hygiene,” said Noor.