October 14, 2005
South Asia: Earthquake Update #4
“This is going to be the one remembered as the earthquake that killed the children,” Church World Service Pakistan/Afghanistan (CWS P/A) director Marvin Parvez said in an interview from Pakistan this week.
Church World Service is a member of the global alliance Action by Churches Together (ACT) International. Parvez is on the scene helping coordinate the response CWS P/A is carrying out in Pakistan on behalf of the ACT alliance to the calamitous earthquake that has killed at least 23,000 people. (Parvez said one report from Pakistan estimated the toll could climb to 80,000 fatalities.)
While there are occasional bits of good news about rescued survivors — as he spoke to CWS New York staff, Parvez received “beautiful news” of four children being rescued from a school — reports from the scene have otherwise been extremely bleak.
“There are recovered bodies of children being set outside of schools, ready for burial. “As a parent, this is very difficult to see,” Parvez said.
He added: “It’s a horror story that doesn’t end. You find yet another village that has been flattened by this earthquake.” Efforts to rescue survivors or retrieve bodies are being hampered by the inaccessibility of remote rural villages. “These villages are in mountainous regions where there no roads,” he said.
Parvez urged support for CWS efforts to provide shelter to earthquake survivors, saying there is “tremendous need right now. People have lost their homes and need shelter. People are very scared and they can’t afford to lose any more loved ones.”
In addition to support, Parvez, a United Methodist, asked for prayers. “We need prayers for parents who lost their children,” he said, “and for children who lost their parents.”
Based on ACT Dateline South Asia 0105 By Chris Herlinger, Church World Service-ACT New York, October 12, 2005