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Message of sympathy on the tragedy of the 8th October earthquake in

10 October 2005

Letter to member churches and National Council of Churches in Pakistan, 10 October,
2005


Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

"Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for
you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me." (Psalm 23:4)

The World Council of Churches is deeply distressed by the news of the unprecedented
earthquake shocks in Pakistan on the morning of 8th October, as the people
were beginning to start their day's work. This national calamity took place
just as the Muslim community had begun preparations to celebrate Ramadan, a
month of fasting, of cleansing of the body and soul that is followed by the major
festival of Id-ul-Fitr. In the wake of this great tragedy, there is not going to be
much celebration. Civic and religious organizations including Christians have
called on the people instead to donate generously to Government relief efforts for
the earthquake victims.

Muslims and Christians have been struck by the magnitude of the disaster and
have joined hands in providing relief and assistance to those in need.

The National Council of Churches in Pakistan in its appeal has called for
prayers and material assistance for the victims. There is an immediate need for
medical aid and assistance for affected people in remote areas. The Council has
drawn attention to the extent of devastation. The northern parts of the country
have been heavily damaged, some villages have been completely wiped out
and major cities like Abbatabad, Murree, Man Shera, Khanspur, Peshawar and
others have been badly hit, communications and water systems are in ruins and
are in need of urgent repairs. Over 20,000 people have been killed, many others
are unaccounted for, also many, including children, are buried under the
rubble.

Military, security forces and expatriate teams are engaged in non-stop rescue
operations that have been hampered by non-availability of military helicopters
and heavy earth-moving equipment, once again a pointer to the wrong priorities
of the Government that has placed greater emphasis on acquiring military armament
than on the essential needs of its people.

Countries all over the world are cooperating in the relief efforts and we are
grateful for the humanitarian aid and assistance that is coming into the country.

ACT (Action by Churches Together) members too are in the process of mobilizing
aid and assistance to meet the needs of the people in the region.

The World Council of Churches assures its member churches, the National
Council of Churches in Pakistan and the people of Pakistan of its continuous
prayer and support as they pass through this difficult period.

Yours in Christ,

Georges Lemopoulos
Acting General Secretary