Baptist World Aid on Sunday sent 10 rescue specialists and two rescue dogs, plus equipment, to help with recovery efforts following Saturday’s 7.6 Richter scale earthquake in Pakistan.

Reuters reported on Wednesday a death toll of more than 33,000 in a belt stretching from <Afghanistan across northern Pakistan and into India.

BWAid’s Rescue 24 team is operated by Hungarian Baptist Aid. It has assisted in numerous rescue missions in recent years in India, Iran, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and most recently in the United States following Hurricane Katrina.

Baptist relief teams from North Carolina were in Hungary for training in search-and-rescue techniques when Katrina struck as their training was coming to an end. A team of Hungarian workers headed for Mississippi. Now it is hoped that some of the trainees from North Carolina will join the team in Pakistan, said Paul Montacute, head of BWAid.

Plans are also underway to send a medical team to the earthquake-affected region within the next few days. The first team will also be assessing future needs.

BWAid is the relief and development arm of the Baptist World Alliance, a fellowship of 214 Baptist unions and conventions comprising a membership of more than 35 million baptized believers and a community of more than 100 million Baptists worldwide.

BWAid has launched an appeal for Earthquake Relief, and needs donations of money to meet the cost of the current rescue team, any future teams and the provision of much-needed supplies.

Donations should be designated to Baptist World Aid / Earthquake appeal. Click here to see how to donate.

BWAid also recently sent $2,500 requested by the Baptist Union in El Salvador to help with relief work prompted by an Oct. 1 volcano eruption, which destroyed homes and villages, and Hurricane Stan, which caused deadly mudslides last week in El Salvador, Guatemala and southern Mexico.

While only a Category 1 hurricane, Stan produced heavy rains that caused massive flooding and mudslides. A mudslide killed 1,400 people in one village in Guatemala alone.

Bob Allen is managing editor of

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