Although this flood has affected more than the combined victims of the Haiti earthquake in January, the 2005 earthquake in northern Pakistan, and the 2004 Asian tsunami, it has received very little media attention. UNICEF reports that it has only received a fraction of the donations that it has urgently appealed for. The UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon has called this a “global disaster” and is urging everyone to provide “unprecedented assistance” to the victims.
There are countless stories of the heartache people are going through: a 70 year old widow stuck in a tree for four days seeking salvation from the flood waters, a young girl’s donated pack of rice stolen from her, and a mother being interviewed desperate enough to try and give up her child to a reporter in exchange for the chance of a better future. These are just a handful of the people affected by the flood. Many of the flood’s victims are stuck on islands, where the only relief they receive is from packages thrown down at them from helicopters.
Across the GTA, many efforts have been made to fundraise for these individuals. From collecting tents for victims, charity drives to gather relief goods, fund drop off-boxes in mosques, barbeque fundraisers where food items were brought by volunteers, to individuals opening up their homes for fundraising, people are coming together to help citizens of Pakistan.
There is extensive food shortage, as countless crops have been washed away, and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization reports that millions of livestock are at risk, with 200 000 cows, sheep, buffalo, goats and donkeys already dead. The contaminated water is another issue in itself; many Pakistanis are using the flood water despite how dangerous it is.
UNICEF reports that 3.5 million Pakistani children are at risk of water-bourne diseases. There are a projected 150 000 cases of measles, 140 000 cases of cholera, 350 000 cases of acute respiratory infections and 100 000 cases of malaria.
This is a time for us to come together and help those less fortunate than ourselves.
Monetary donations can be made to the Red Cross online at the account setup by the Pakistan Development Fund, Pakistan Students Federation, and South Asian Development Council under 'Students for Pakistan' here:
Some items being collected include goods, bottled water, blankets, medicine, sleeping bags, and tents. Drop-off locations include:
North American Muslim Foundation (416-299-1969), 4140 Finch Ave E, Scarborough, ON, M1S3T9
Weston Islamic Center (905-265-8511), 4040 Steeles Ave W #201 First Floor, Woodbridge, ON, L4L 4Y5
ISNA (905-403-8406 ext. 206/207) 2200 South Sheridan Way, Mississauga, ON, L5J 2M4
If anything, volunteer your time and join an organization the 'Students for Pakistan' that is already fundraising. If you are interested in helping please contact Zenaira or Aisha at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. A little goes a long way!