Reflections From the Ground: Floods in Pakistan Cause Crisis

Amid Pakistan’s worst flooding to occur in living memory, Islamic Relief Canada’s CEO, Usama Khan, travelled to Pakistan to meet with rights-holders and witness the tragic impact of flash floods.

Balochistan is a land rich with natural resources and an even richer cultural legacy. However, the grim reality is that the people of Balochistan have lagged behind the rest of Pakistan in infrastructure development, opportunity, and prosperity.

More than half the population lives in extreme poverty.

Climate change has meant that Balochistan is at the center of adverse weather patterns, from drought to flooding. However, with most of the population relying on agriculture and the rearing of animals as a primary source of livelihood, water remains the key to life.

This past month has seen unprecedented rainfall across Balochistan, Sindh and KP provinces.

Families in Pakistan face deepening poverty and suffering

I spent the last week in Balochistan and met women who had lost their houses, lost their animals and were facing a grim future with their kids. Thinking about life without shelter and without the means to earn a livelihood is a situation most of us can’t relate to here in Canada.

“Without the adequate infrastructure to control the flow of water, the lives of 33 million people have been impacted. That is almost the size of Canada’s population.

It was absolutely heartbreaking to see families weep as their ancestral homes, their place of safety and familiarity, were swept away by the unforgiving waters. And with them, the memories of generations of families were all wiped away.

Islamic Relief staff have been helping on the ground for over 20 years

It was inspiring to see our committed staff in Balochistan, many of whose own families have been affected by the flash floods, work day and night to provide life-saving aid. Our staff have been going to hard-to-reach places across Pakistan for more than 20 years to lend a helping hand.

I was proud to see that the projects Islamic Relief has been implementing are not limited to immediate aid but also provide sustainable solutions that enhance life permanently for the people we serve. We have installed drip irrigation where farmers can use a fraction of the water required to grow crops. We have installed flood barrier walls around villages so that in the event of flooding, the water can bypass the village.

“I saw footage taken by villagers that showed water gushing past and not going through the mud homes in the village because Islamic Relief had built flood barrier walls last year.”

Prevention is always better than the cure. Our teams ensure that wherever feasible, we make communities resilient to withstand natural disasters.

We have a responsibility to the people of Pakistan

Canadians and the global community have a responsibility to the people of Pakistan. In their hour of need, we owe it to stand up and be counted by contributing generously. The needs will not end this week or next. Long after the Pakistan floods are not prominent on our social media feeds, the people of Pakistan will still need us to care.

Islamic Relief commits to being there even when the cameras leave.

Donate Urgent aid to the Flood in Pakistan

With utmost urgency, I ask you to act now for the people of Pakistan.

With your continued support, we can continue to reach even more families and communities affected by this crisis.

Your brother,

Usama Khan
CEO, Islamic Relief Canada