London: (By Hannah Chowdhry and Juliet Chowdhry) Almost 16 Christian families near starvation have become the 11th community served food by British Asian Christian Association, since the terrible record-breaking floods of 2022.
The community resided in a tiny hamlet named Dariya Khan Chandio and were finally visited by our group on 27th September 2022.
Until BACA arrived the community had not been met by any aid agency and were near starvation. No Government or other rescue agency offered any support to these Christians.
BACA have now provided food, mosquito nets and installed a new water pump to help this suffering community.
on 16th September, BACA received a call from Harlal Masih a local villager who sought help for the small community.
Our volunteer Evangelist Danayal Masih travelled almost 60 Km from Berani, to meet Harlal and other Christian families and ascertain what support was needed. Danyal had already prepared 16 food bags one for each of the families living in the hamlet. Some of the travel was extremely difficult as roads were blocked, bridges were still broken and areas were still flooded, but Danayal got through.
When he got there Danyal was shocked and dismayed at the disheveled state of these Christians. For weeks they had been living in homes that had water a foot deep. Worse still, these villagers had been drinking water from a contaminated well in the middle of the stench of the aftermath of the deluge, in which sewage and other detritus surrounded them. It was an extremely horrible condition for people to live in.
Members of these Christian families are farm labourers who are paid 2 pounds a day. However, they are currently out of work, as crops on the land they till have been destroyed. The families had been selling their goats and borrowing money for landlords to survive. Many her had considered selling themselves into slavery just to feed their families. Indentured labour would have been a brutal existence for them and led to their progeny being locked into the cruel indentured labour contracts.
According to a report by the ‘United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs’ (OCHA) over 1.2 million hectares of agriculture have been destroyed during the inundation. The report states:
“Cases of watery diarrhoea, typhoid and malaria are a growing concern, with many people living in unsanitary conditions in temporary shelters, often with only limited access to basic services. Initial reports of outbreaks of vector-borne and water- borne diseases have been received from parts of Balochistan and Sindh.”
Even though this community is small, several cases of malaria have been identified and we are obtaining mediacl supplies for sufferers.
The terrible monsoon has completely destroyed some of their mud houses while damaging the others. Cracks and leaking rooves are a common sight. The unprecedented rains have affecting 33 million people across the country. Crop yields in Sindh have seen a reported 45% loss in cotton, 85% loss in dates, and 31% loss in rice. This has placed millions of people in hunger.
Baba Masih, said:
“The crop destruction at such a huge scale has taken away our hopes for the year.
“We rely on large harvests for our financial survival – our future looks bleak.
“Our children are frail and weak and sickness is consuming our families – we have no one to turn to.
“We thank God that food and mosquito nets have been provided by BACA, we were getting very desperate.”
Brother Harlal Masih a community leader, said:
“When the rains began water rose to our knees.
“The rains did not cease they continued for for days.
“Our rooves are made of hay, they began to leak and walls started to crack.
“For safety we travelled in the rain to safer places on the the road that pass by our small hamlet.
“We left everything we had behind except our charpai and any cloth we could muster.
“We then spent weeks living with just some cloth protecting us from the sun and rain – it has been hard but we are used to this.”
The families were able to move back into their homes when the water receded to the level of their feet. Some villagers had no house to come back to as it had been washed away and others could not return to their homes because they needed serious repair and were dangerous.
Sister Moohmal spoke with us, she said:
“Some walls of my house have fallen down and the others have large cracks in them.
“I can not live in the property in its current state.
“I am forced to live in the courtyard of my home”
Cases of Malaria are fast spreading in the area and some of these communities have caught the disease.
Women have had to travel through stagnant, putrid water which still surrounds their homes to obtain drinking water from a local water pump.
“There was only one water pump in use for Christian families.
“This pump belongs to local Muslims who use it to water their livestock.
“The pump has become contaminated and people began to get ill drinking from it.”