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Prayers, support needed for flood victims

Margaret Mayce, OP (DLC/Amityville)
NGO in Special Consultative Status at the United Nations

My colleague at the UN in Geneva, Olivier Poquillon,OP, received a moving account of the plight of the Pakistani people, including members of our Dominican family, in the midst of the catastrophic flooding enveloping the country. The message is written by Fr. James Channan, OP, Prior of the Dominican Friars in Pakistan. If you are interested in offering any financial assistance towards Dominican efforts to alleviate the suffering in Pakistan, you can contact Fr. James directly. His e-mail address is included at the end of his message.

I have also been in touch with the Dominican Sisters of Sparkill, who have a province in Pakistan. As of this writing, all of our sisters and their families are safe, and are not in need of any financial assistance at this time. In the event their situation changes, we will let you know. The Congregation of the Holy Cross/Cabra, whose Motherhouse is in Australia, and Suore Domenicane di S. Caterina da Siena, whose Motherhouse is in Rome, also have sisters in Pakistan. None of their sisters have been adversely affected by the flooding. Both prioresses are very grateful for our concern and prayers for their sisters and the Pakistani people.

On Aug. 19, the UN General Assembly met in special session in New York, to call for global solidarity in the wake of Pakistan's worst disaster in living memory. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who visited Pakistan last week, addressed the 192 Member States, saying, "Make no mistake: this is a global disaster, a global challenge. It is one of the greatest tests of global solidarity in our times… Pakistan is facing a "slow-motion tsunami", with needs expected to grow, even as 15 to 20 million people currently need shelter, food and emergency care."

Ironically, Aug. 19 was also World Humanitarian Day—a day set aside by the UN to to honor the memory of aid workers who have lost their lives while bringing assistance to others, and to raise awareness of various relief activities worldwide.

The flooding in Pakistan is, indeed, an "unprecedented humanitarian disaster," requiring an extraordinary response. As we move into the end of this summer season—a summer which has seen many parts of our country longing for rain—may each of us find a way to be in solidarity with our Pakistani brothers and sisters, both through our prayer,as well as any other ways in which we might be able to offer some assistance and alleviate their suffering.