BY A STAFF REPORTER
AS the death toll of the Pakistan disaster rose over the 200,000 mark, making it the worst catastrophe of the century, relief agencies began to co-ordinate the huge task of forwarding relief to the stricken area. Appeals were launched immediately and the response has been overwhelming.
The Disasters Relief Committee. consisting of Oxfam, War on Want, Christian Aid, the Red Cross and the Save the Children Fund, had so far received 70 sacks of mail.
Although only five of These had been checked so far, the arnount received is £22,000, and the final total could be in the region of £250,000.
CAFOD and the Catholic Women's League Relief and Refugee Committee, joint agents in Britain for Caritas International, have also had encouraging results from theirs appeals.
In addition to the immediate grant of £1,000 they have sent over £5,000 for father general aid, and aid worth £24,000 has been sent in kind from Germany mainly tents, bedding and other vital means of shelter.
Caritas International and several of its national branches have donated more than £145,000 for disaster relief.
COMMUNICATION LAG There is still a two-day communication lag with the stricken area, but despite allegations of political incompetence in the wake of the disaster the Pakistan Army has sent in two brigades to •help with the relief work, and a clearing-up eperation seems well under way.
Special Masses and collections for relief have been organised in many parts of the country. In the Birmingham diocese a special collection was taken, and though most of the money is still to be counted, the outlook is encouraging. There will be a special collection at all Masses in Liverpool this Sunday for the relief fund, and special Masses will be said, MANY ANONYMOUS
In many other dioceses there has been spontaneous action on a more local level. In parishes where planned giving is in operation, parish priests have been able to donate one week's income for immediate forwarding for relief purposes.
Although many donations are being sent anonymously, and many more people say in their letters that receipts are not required, the relief agencies still have volunteers working all day writing receipts and acknowledging donations.
The offices of War on Want, which is responsible in this present case for sending receipts, have become so crowded that some workers are working
pit borne to relieve pressure of space.
The latest figures from CAFOD show that another £1,500 has been received. This does not include the amount received by the Catholic Women's League this week. So far they have been able to cope with all the administrative work involved.