As events related to the heavy rain and floods continue to unfold in Pakistan, I was reminded at Mass yesterday of the demands of solidarity with those suffering in a part of the world distant from us.
This is the latest BBC news report. This account from Aid to the Church in Need gives an idea of how areas that have not been directly affected by flooding have nevertheless been drawn into the events surrounding it. For a country whose suffering in recent times has had several causes, the addition of natural disaster is poignant. It makes a demand for solidarity that transcends the causes of the suffering.
The solidarity is needed at two levels. One level is that of the organs of the international community, the United Nations and governments of its member states. The second level is that of individuals and organisations of civil society, such as charities.
At an individual level, we are called to both prayer and practical help.
I expect that I will not be alone in having a work colleague with family in north west Pakistan, the area first affected by the rains and floods. The need for solidarity has a personal element, too.