B.C. Pakistani community rallies amid historic floods, urges donations

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British Columbia’s Pakistani community is asking Canadians to lend a hand as the South Asian country grapples with a disaster of historic proportions.

Heavy monsoon rains have been pounding the country since mid-June, displacing tens of millions of people and leaving at least 1,200 people dead.

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“The situation is getting worse day by day because the rains are not stopping and the water is going to different parts of the country,” said Ali Najaf, whose brother is on the ground in Pakistan trying to help coordinate aid.

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“A lot of people are without homes. They’re estimating around 30M people without shelter. And a lot of those people rely on agriculture.”

The cost of damage from the flooding is estimated to surpass $10 billion, and Najaf said many people fear their farms and livelihoods have been completely washed away.

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“A lot of them are still in shock, still processing what has happened,” he said.

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“We cannot even imagine how much disaster has happened because the water has not gone down yet.”

Pakistan is doing its best to provide shelter for people who have lost their homes, but Najaf said it is still a developing country and is facing massive hurdles.

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Read more: Pakistan floods: More than 1,200 dead as aid pours into nation

Many families are sleeping in the streets, he said.

Humanitarian aid has been pouring into the country, but the scope of the disaster is immense.

The ninth flight from the United Arab Emirates and the first from Uzbekistan were the latest to land in Islamabad overnight as a military-backed rescue operation elsewhere in the country reached more of the 3 million people affected by the disaster.

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Two more planes from UAE and Qatar with aid will arrive in Pakistan later Friday, and a Turkish train carrying relief goods for flood victims was on its way to the impoverished nation, according to the Foreign Ministry.

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The U.N. refugee agency said Friday that while the response to a funding appeal earlier this week was “very encouraging,” more help is needed.

Najaf urged British Columbians to donate, and suggested Islamic Relief Canada as a reputable charity with the ability to target aid where it is needed most.

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Beyond donating to help, Najaf urged British Columbians to check in with friends or colleagues with roots in Pakistan, who may be struggling as they watch the country reel from the disaster.

“There has been some nights I was just up thinking about what has happened and how fast it has happened — we never thought it would create this much impact, but it’s spread to almost half of the country now,” he said.

“We are far away from our home and it is difficult for us to process, because we are not on the ground as much as we want to help, so people are going through a lot of emotions.”

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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