In the past two weeks, Pakistan has been devastated by catastrophic flooding brought on by intense monsoon rains. One third of the country is currently underwater, with the death toll exceeding 1,300, including nearly 500 children. Over 33 million people have been affected. Pakistan’s largest lake is on the verge of flooding, risking even more lives. As an organization mandated with building bridges between Jews and Christians and Christians with Israel, the Genesis 123 Foundation has announced plans to help those most in need, fulfilling the mandate of Genesis 12:3 to be a blessing to the families of the world from Israel, even in Pakistan.
In addition to deaths and displaced people, flooding has damaged more than a million homes, several hundred schools, hundreds of bridges, and thousands of miles of roads, making relief efforts extremely challenging, and entirely cutting off many communities from receiving the outside help they desperately need.
The humanitarian situation is grave and deteriorating rapidly, with many being pushed to the brink of survival as the disaster unfolds. The threat of disease spreading is rampant, risking killing thousands more.
The Genesis 123 Foundation undertakes the responsibility to be a blessing from Israel seriously, bringing Jews and Christians together to make tangible targeted impact in Israel and around the world. Most recently it provided hundreds of pounds of baby formula from Israel to churches in the US where there’s been a severe shortage of this basic staple in the diet of millions of babies. But Genesis 123 Foundation is not just committed to be a blessing to people in need in the developed world. As the case of Pakistan, it is committed to do so even in countries that are technically at war with Israel and don’t recognize its right to exist. When God commands Israel to be a blessing to the families of the world, He does not mean only in countries that are its friends.
However, throughout Pakistan there are Christians who love and support Israel deeply. It’s a particular challenge for them, living as Christians in a Moslem country that’s less tolerant of other faiths, and praying for and supporting Israel at all, much less openly. Over the years, the Genesis 123 Foundation has established friendships with Pakistani Christians based on their Biblical love and support for Israel. Most have never met a Jew, but they know that they have an obligation to bless and support Israel.
Life is hard for Pakistani Christians, living as second class citizens, often persecuted in the extremist Moslem society. One pastor wrote, in anguish, that “tomorrow we have nothing to eat. We have no clothes and no blankets to stay warm when sleeping.” Another shared a video with a personal view of the devastation and appeal to help.
Another pleaded, we are trying to help people who “have lost everything! They no longer have homes, and tragically, many have lost loved ones. (They have lost) all their belongings: clothes, precious possessions, furniture, beds are all gone because the floods have swept them away.
They are in desperate need!”
The situation is grim, and as an organization building bridges between Jews and Christians, there was an urgent need to do something. Responding to an email appeal, Carolyn G. called from Texas, not realizing that she was reaching someone in Israel. She thanked Genesis 123 for stepping up, noting that she had been looking for a legitimate US non-profit that was supporting people in Pakistan, and that despite her search she found nothing, even among major Christian ministries.
Reports from the ground are of great and immediate needs: food, shelter, hygiene kits, medicine, clothing, blankets, and more. Exacerbating the problems, because of the flooding and in addition to the loss of life and damage to properties, many have lost their main source of income, which will push many more into long-term hunger, poverty, disease, and death.
Nearly a million cattle, goats, and sheep have died, so far. These are critical sources of food and income for millions, and a major source of dairy for children. As flooding worsens and disease spreads, more will die. These are not just pets; they are a primary source of life.
Staple crops such as cotton, sugar, rice, dates, grapes, and apples have been destroyed. It will be at least a year before they are able to replant and harvest, exacerbating the poverty.
Clean drinking water has been contaminated with corpses and sewage, transporting disease.
In Pakistan’s male dominated society, women are suffering uniquely from a lack of female hygiene materials, which also adds to their risk of lack of privacy and fear of harassment.
Estimates are that the damage has cost some $20 billion so far, on top of the ravaging human suffering.
Given the urgency, the Genesis 123 Foundation is calling on Jews and Christians to unite to help those at greatest risk, the least of these, our brothers and sisters. Together, Jews and Christians are being a blessing from Israel, especially Christians who struggle as second-class citizens, and women and children. Aid provided is being targeted to make the biggest impact possible through friends on the ground, not through Pakistani organizations which prioritize the dominant Moslem society, but among and through Christians directly. Because of the sensitivity of the lack of relations between Pakistan and Israel (Pakistani passports are printed with a statement that they are not valid for travel to Israel), much of this relief has to be done under the radar. But relief efforts are underway nonetheless.
The Genesis 123 Foundation closed its appeal with a prayer. “We pray that the rains will end, that the flooding will subside, that those suffering death, disease, and loss of property and livelihood will be able to rebound soon. And we pray that Jews and Christians will join us today so we can get supplies needed the most to those who need it the most, and be a continued and tangible blessing from Israel to the families of the world.”