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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Winter threatens survivors of Pakistan's floods

In the mountainous northwest region of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (formerly the North-West Frontier Province), survivors of Pakistan's 2010 floods are facing the challenges of winter.

One struggling institution is Balakot's hospital, which has long received support from Church World Service, a partner with the ELCA in ACT Alliance, a global ecumenical relief effort. With about three-quarters of the hospital's equipment lost and its building effectively uninhabitable due to flood damage, medical personnel were scrambling.

Medical technician Basharat Ahmed said the hospital set up its maternity unit at a temporary locale while personnel look for another location. Ahmed and others say rebuilding is crucial since the hospital was the primary health facility for 300,000 people in the region.

Unless more aid arrives soon, U.N. officials in Pakistan warned Oct. 29 that food supplies will run out in December. According to the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, 7 million Pakistanis don't have sufficient blankets, clothing or shelter for the winter.

Agencies such as CWS are doing their best to distribute food and other help, which at the end of October stood at 1,938 tons of food, 500 tents, temporary shelter supplies, household items and mobile health teams that have provided more than 36,000 consultations.

At presstime, the ELCA had given $100,000 for CWS' initial relief efforts; $50,000 for CWS mobile health clinics; and $60,000 to Lutheran World Relief, to be sent to United Methodist Committee on Relief/Muslim AID.


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