A Catholic charity is providing emergency relief to hundreds of people whose livelihoods were destroyed in the wave of anti-Christian attacks in Jaranwala, east Pakistan last month.
Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) is offering a support package to 464 families who lost all their possessions in the mob violence that broke out on 16th August after a Christian man and his son were falsely accused of blasphemy.
The aid is worth £130,000 (€150,000) and includes repairs for homes damaged during the riots, as well as basic goods such as clothes, kitchen appliances, bedding, mattresses and stationary items for school children.
Bishop Indrias Rehmat of Faisalabad told ACN: “The lives of these people are in grave danger, as they struggle to survive amidst immense hardship.”
He added: “We look forward to collaborating with ACN to alleviate the suffering of these unfortunate victims, and we extend our heartfelt gratitude for your attention and cooperation in this matter to the benefactors.”
Marco Mencaglia, ACN’s international projects director said: “Bishop Indrias Rehmat requested financial assistance from ACN, and the charity is pleased to announce that it will be funding a relief project to help the Christian community, and these 464 families in particular, to get back on their feet.
“We are ready to consider future support for the renovation of [torched] houses and church buildings in Jaranwala, if needed.”
Up to 24 churches and hundreds of Christian homes were vandalised and torched in the attacks, prompting nearly 1,000 people to flee, according to local sources.
The authorities failed to stop the violence, and the mob blocked the roads into Jaranwala to prevent any outside assistance from reaching the victims.
With thanks to Filipe d’Avillez