Catholic aid for Pakistan flood relief hits $6 million

By 
  • October 22, 2010
Pakistan floodTORONTO - Canadian Catholics have raised more than $3 million to help flood victims in Pakistan while the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace has been chosen to help deliver $2 million in extra emergency flood relief.

The $3 million raised for Development and Peace by Oct. 13 is eligible for matching funds from the federal government, transforming it into $6 million worth of aid.

Toronto parishes played a big part in the fund-raising drive, putting $463,000 in ShareLife’s emergency relief account in time for federal matching grants. Money has continued to trickle in after the Oct. 13 deadline, and ShareLife reported $466,113 in funds for Pakistan as of Oct. 18.


It was no surprise Toronto Catholics would raise a dramatic amount to help a 98-per-cent Muslim nation, said ShareLife spokesperson Bill Steinburg.

“People respond as much to the needs of the victims,” he said. “Catholics don’t just give to Catholics. This is a fine example of that. We’re not just taking care of our own here.”

Development and Peace is now committed to working in Pakistan for years to come. It’s partnering with Catholic Relief Services of the United States to deliver additional flood relief and post-flood reconstruction. The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) is backing Development and Peace’s partnership with CRS with a $2-million supplementary grant from the Humanitarian Assistance Program.

The CIDA funding is part of an $11.5-million package of grants to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, Save the Children Canada and Development and Peace to support renewed agriculture in the region.

Given the slow start to emergency appeals in the summer, Development and Peace executive director Michael Casey was surprised by the $3 million that came in to meet the federal government’s deadline for matching funds.

Development and Peace relaunched the appeal in late August with backing from the Canadian bishops. The relaunch and more dramatic images of the devastation in news media turned on the tap for increased donations, Casey said.

“Emergencies always bring that out in people because it’s so visual, it’s so immediate. People can identify immediately with it and they respond with emotion,” Casey said.

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