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Thursday, December 8, 2016
Bishop of Hallam visits earthquake survivors in Pakistan
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¬†Bishop John Rawsthorne, the Bishop of Hallam, travelled to Pakistan with CAFOD in late March to offer his support and prayers to survivors of the devastating earthquake which hit the country on the 8 October last year. Over 70,000 people died and a further 3.5 million were left homeless when an earthquake measuring 7.6 on the Richter scale shattered large areas of northern Pakistan and Indian-administered Kashmir six months ago. Since then, CAFOD has been working through its sister agency, Caritas Pakistan, as well as other partners on the ground, to provide assistance to survivors. Bishop John Rawsthorne, who chairs CAFOD's Board of Trustees, travelled to Muzaffarabad, Mansehra and Boi in northern Pakistan, areas which were hardest hit by the earthquake. The devastation is still clearly visible throughout the region but Bishop Rawsthorne was impressed with the spirit and friendliness of the people and the speed of the reconstruction effort that CAFOD is helping with. "CAFOD works with all faiths and no faiths", said Bishop Rawsthorne on his return to Britain from Pakistan. "Wherever there is need we work, although we work through local Catholic structures where possible. Pakistan is predominantly a Muslim country and CAFOD's help in the reconstruction effort is a very good exercise in inter-religious relations." CAFOD has so far committed over £2 million to its partners in Pakistan. This has been spent predominantly on health, reconstruction and supporting livelihood recovery. With CAFOD money, mobile health clinics have been set up to provide basic health services in areas where the local medical facilities were destroyed or are no longer accessible since the earthquake. Semi-permanent, earthquake-proof winter shelters were also supplied to help families get through the harsh Himalayan winter. In many cases these shelters will be the basis for new homes. Bishop Rawsthorne expressed his gratitude to CAFOD supporters: "Thanks to the great support of CAFOD many people in Pakistan are looking forward to a brighter future. I'd like to extend a huge thank you for your support." CAFOD raised over £1.6 million through its earthquake appeal, including nearly £500,000 donated by parishes in England and Wales.
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