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Pakistan quake took wrenching toll on children

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Photo courtesy of NCA/ACT International

Pakistanis injured by the earthquake are loaded onto helicopters to be transported to medical facilities.
Oct. 14, 2005

A UMNS Report
By Chris Herlinger*

“This is going to be the one remembered as the earthquake that killed the children.”

That is the viewpoint of Marvin Parvez, a Methodist and the Pakistan/Afghanistan director for Church World Service.

Parvez has been on the scene in Pakistan helping coordinate the CWS response to the calamitous earthquake that, as of Oct. 14, had killed more than 25,000 people.

The United Methodist Committee on Relief is working to assist earthquake victims through CWS and the International Blue Crescent.

While there are occasional bits of good news about rescued survivors -- as he spoke by phone Oct. 11 to CWS headquarters in New York, 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,” he said. “As a parent, this is very difficult to see.”

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Marvin Parvez
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, asked for prayer from U.S. Christians and supporters of CWS efforts in Pakistan. “We need prayers for parents who lost their children,” he said, “and for children who lost their parents.”

Donations to the United Methodist relief effort can be marked for “UMCOR Advance #232000, Pakistan Earthquake,” and placed in church offering plates or sent to UMCOR, P.O. Box 9068, New York, N.Y. 10087-9068. Contributions also can be made by phone at (800) 554-8583. If funds are intended for recovery in a specific region, that should be noted. More information is available at http://gbgm-umc.org/umcor/emergency/earthquake/index.stm.

*Herlinger is communications officer for the Church World Service Emergency Response Program.

News media contact: Linda Bloom, New York, (646) 369-3759 or newsdesk@umcom.org

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Resources

UMCOR: Pakistan Earthquake

CWS: Earthquake

BBC News: South Asia Quake in depth