Somerset

Bath churches launch Peshawar massacre appeal

Pakistani men transport a wounded student to hospital after Taliban gunmen attacked a school in Peshawar, Pakistan, 16/12/14 Image copyright Getty Images

A £15,000 appeal has begun by Bath churches to help the survivors of the Pakistan school massacre.

Last week, Taliban gunmen shot and killed 141 people, most of whom were children, at the army-run school in the north western city of Peshawar.

Over the past year, the church has given aid and counselling to victims of the 2013 suicide bombing of All Saints Church, which is near the school.

A team of six medics now hope to extend their work to help the school victims.

'Critical need'

As part of the Help and Hope project, churchgoer Qamar Rafiq, from Twerton, has visited the city seven times over the past year to oversee and deliver aid for those affected in the church bombing where at least 80 people were killed.

Mr Rafiq, a Pakistani national, has also been in touch with the wounded patients and friends whose families were affected in last week's shootings.

"These children are in critical need of post-traumatic stress relief for the future so they are in a position to return to school, they are under a state of fear."

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Image caption The project has already helped survivors of the All Saints Church bombing in 2013
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Image caption Counselling and therapy has been one of the ways young survivors of the church bombing have been helped

The same method of taking the survivors to Islamabad for counselling will be used by the church group as it is too dangerous to do in Peshawar.

The project was set up by Reverend Alan Bain of St Philip and St James churches in Bath.

He said: "Many aid agencies cannot reach Peshawar, it's too dangerous for their workers to be there, you can't be a foreigner and be in there.

"It just struck me that we now have an experienced team who've done the work there for the past 14 months, who've gone through the trauma themselves and helped people there."

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