When Winnipegger Masroor Khan saw the devastation caused by flooding in Pakistan, he knew he needed to go and help.
The chartered accountant flew out on Aug. 30 to assist with providing relief supplies to some of the more than 30 million people in that country impacted by the disaster.
“It is a catastrophe,” says Khan, 28. “So many people are homeless, their houses destroyed.”
Homes that weren’t destroyed are severely damaged, many of them still filled with mud and water, he says.
“Life is impossible for them,” he says of those displaced by the flood. “There are so many people living under a merciless sky.”
Khan, who came to Canada in 2012 from Pakistan, is thankful his family in Islamabad, the capital city, is safe. But he wants to do “whatever I can” to help others who are struggling to survive.
The major needs now, he says, are for food, shelter, drinking water and medical supplies — all things he is helping deliver to people in need.
“For food, we are handing out biscuits, dried fruit, juice, sugar, dates,” he says.
There is also an urgent need for sanitary napkins for women, he says, since there are many places where it is impossible to purchase those essential items.
Along with concern about water-borne diseases, doctors are treating skin infections and snakebites, he says.
“So many people have been affected,” he says of the flood, adding this is a consequence of climate change.
“This disaster is proof global warming is happening,” he says. “I can see it on the ground. The world needs to take serious action.”
As for the Pakistani community in Winnipeg, “nobody is not affected by the flood,” he says. “We wall know someone, a friend or relative, who has been affected.”
For that reason, the community is holding a fundraising dinner Sept. 10 to raise money for people impacted by the flood in that country.
The fundraiser, which is sponsored by the Pakistan Trade and Cultural Association, the Pakistan Winnipeg Society, the Pakistan Business Association, the Molana Tariq Jameel Foundation and the University of Manitoba Pakistani Students Association, takes place 7 p.m. at the Grand Mosque, 2445 Waverly St.
The cost of the dinner, which will feature traditional Pakistani food, is covered by donations, so all the funds raised at the event will be used to provide emergency relief for those affected by the flood, said organizer Faraz Khan.
“We want to raise at least $25,000,” he says, noting the funds will be sent to Islamic Relief Canada, a member of the Humanitarian Coalition, which brings together Canada’s leading relief agencies.
Islamic Relief will use the money for food, water and shelter, Khan says.
Tickets for the dinner are $15; they can be purchased by calling the Manitoba Islamic Association (MIA) at 204-256-1347.
People who can’t make the dinner, but who still want to donate, can do so through the MIA’s website at https://donate-can.keela.co/humanitarian-relief-for-pakistan.
In addition to the MIA, the Winnipeg-based Canadian Foodgrains Bank has launched an appeal for Pakistan; visit https://foodgrainsbank.ca for more information.
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