In a conversation from Peshawar today, Bishop Humphrey Sarfaraz Peters of the Diocese of Peshawar said that the confirmed death toll from the bombing at All Saints’ Church on Sept. 22 in the old section of the city stands at 127, with 170 injured.
“It has been just devastating,” he said. “Quite a few children are paralyzed, and others are orphaned. This is a terrible time for the Christian community.” Financial assistance is urgently needed to support the families of the dead and injured, he said.
Government officials, including the Governor of Khyber Pakhtunkwa, the Chief Minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and federal ministers, have visited in order to express concern and condolence. The bishop has met with them either at All Saints’, where he has been based over the week, or at his home on the grounds of St. John’s Cathedral.
Yesterday’s car bomb in Qissa Khawani bazaar was detonated nearby while the All Saints’ congregation was again at worship on the first week’s anniversary of the Sept. 22 bomb. “People were in a panic, and there was such a rush,” Bp. Humphrey said, “but after about 25 minutes we were able to get them settled and resume the service.” The bomb killed 40 people and was reported to have exploded about 300 yards from All Saints’, near a mosque and a police station. On Friday, 19 people died when a bomb planted on a bus carrying government employees exploded in the outskirts of Peshawar.
Today’s confirmed count of 127 dead and 170 wounded from the Sept. 22 bomb is lower than the initial reports of 150 dead and 200 wounded, but it is considerably higher than the figure of 85 dead that is being circulated by global news media. Peshawar’s overall death toll from bomb blasts for the week is 176.
“The world reached out wonderfully when Malala Yousafzai was shot,” Bp. Humphrey said, referring to the 15-year-old Pakistani girl who was shot in the head last October by the Taliban for advocating for girls’ education. “There are many Malalas now after the bombing,” he said in appealing for assistance.
Episcopal Relief and Development sent a $15,000 grant, the bishop said. Other initiatives are being developed in the Episcopal Church and may be announced soon. Meanwhile, the Edwardes College Compassion Appeal has already begun receiving donations for victims and their families from concerned people in the USA as well as in Pakistan (click here for details).