Baptists Are Running Against Time To Help In Pakistan

Baptists Are Running Against Time To Help In Pakistan

Wendy Ryan, Director, Communications Division - Baptist World Alliance - October 14, 2005

Washington, D.C. (BWA) - "I have never seen anything like this even though I have commanded 12 rescue operations after natural disasters from Columbia and Turkey to India and Iran. The earthquake was so strong that it tore the mountain in two parts and dozens of houses fell into a cleft 50 to 100 meters deeps" – said Laszlo Pavelcze, commander of BWAid Rescue24, the special search and rescue team of Baptist World Alliance over his satellite phone from Pakistan, 30 km from the epicentre of the earthquake.

An earthquake, measuring 7.6 on the Richter scale occurred on Saturday October 8, 2005, and affected large areas in northern Pakistan. The Pakistan government accepted the offer of the team at 10am on Sunday morning, October 9, and by 6.50pm Sunday evening, the team was on its way from its base in Budapest, Hungary.

The 10 rescue specialists, 2 rescue dogs and 2 metric tons of equipment of BWAid Rescue24 had to wait for hours and hours after they arrived at Islamabad Airport on Monday afternoon. The quake destroyed the roads leading to the area most devastated so it made no sense to leave by truck. Ultimately heavy hail storms and the lack of helicopters kept the Pakistani authorities from taking rescue teams immediately to the disaster site.

BWAid Rescue24 was taken to the (Gali) Bagh area, some 30-50 km from the epicentre of the earthquake. They immediately started to search a dormitory where some 60 students were believed to be stuck in the building. The team works in two shifts day and night.

"People in the villages and the city here cheered when they saw us in our red rescue uniform. But at the same time they were hysterical because food ran out, they lost their homes, had no blankets, and signs of malaria and other diseases began to be seen, they are afraid of being left alone since relief teams are delayed by the devastated infrastructure." – shared Pavelcze.

David Gal, a senior relief officer of Hungarian Baptist Aid, partner to BWAid told us that "the greatest need at the moment seems to be tents, heavy blankets, basic food and medicines. Nights are becoming colder here in the mountains and many people have no place to sleep. The doctor and nurse on our team started to provide first aid, but we do not have much medical supplies on us now. Food is scarce and diseases attack. We are running against time to find survivors and take care of them once they are alive".

International experts and Pakistani authorities believe that the earthquake left some 30,000 to 50,000 dead and at least 2 million homeless.

Another team, a Medical and Relief Team left Hungary on Wednesday, October 12 for Pakistan. Baptist relief teams from North Carolina previously spent time in Hungary being trained in search and rescue techniques. North Carolina Baptists sent two of their best rescue specialists to join BWAid Rescue24. Two other experienced doctors and two relief workers from Hungary went to work alongside the first team. They will focus on medical care and assessing the need and ways Baptists could get involved helping the victims of the disaster. The teams took USD 20,000 to purchase and provide aid and relief.

BWAid and its partners want to provide immediate humanitarian aid and also long term assistance to the victims of this devastating earthquake.

Paul Montacute, the Director of Baptist World Aid spoke with Gal in Bagh on Wednesday morning, and sensed the tension of the situation in his voice. "We must do more,"" said Montacute. "The search and rescue work will sadly soon be over, and now we need to help to provide shelter, water, food and medicines."

Donations designated to BWAid’s Earthquake appeal can be made at, or to the following.

Baptist World Aid

Baptist World Alliance

405 North Washington Street

Falls Church, VA22046, USA

Phone: +1 703 790 8980

Fax: +1 703 790 5719


Contacts: Paul Montacute or Lee Hickman

A US tax receipt will be issued.

Donations may also be made by Visa or MasterCard, in US dollars. State the Gift Amount in US$; Card No; Exp. Date; Signature of donor; and name as it appears on credit card.

Click here to see how you can give to Baptist World Aid -

We continually pray that all of our disaster appeals and approved projects will be fully funded, and celebrate when God answers our prayers. If the project to which your gift is designated has been funded, we will direct your gift to meet a similar need.


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