News That Matters

Montreal’s Pakistani diaspora organizes relief efforts for flooded country – Montreal

As floods continue to ravage parts of Pakistan, Montrealers with connections to that country are rallying to offer support.

“What’s happening in Pakistan right now is a huge calamity,” said Hayee Bokhari, founder and co-chair of the Montreal-based Canada Pakistan Affiliated Chamber of Trade (CPACT). “The flood is the flood of the century.”

Read more:

Floods in Pakistan: Officials breach swelling lake to avert overflow

The deluge that has killed almost 1,300 people and affected more than 33 million, nearly the entire population of Canada, is the result of unprecedented monsoon rains that started in June.

Montreal’s Pakistani diaspora worry things could get worse.

“Now there’s another problem which we are suffering now because the water is still there,” explained Muhammad Asif who hails from Northern Pakistan. “Dengue (fever) is starting to affect the people because there are lots of mosquitoes.”

Story continues below advertisement

Bokari pointed out that once the flood recedes, another disaster looms — famine, because flooded rivers are depositing sand on farmlands.

“So the next few years certain areas that were very, very rich with certain crops and vegetable growing — they become uninhabitable,” he told Global News.

It’s why members of his organization as well as others are rushing to do what they can.

“We are trying to help as much as possible, even on a personal level, to send food, to send tents, medical supplies and so on,” explained Sadia Sajid, vice-president of development for CPACT.

She said the group is trying to raise $200 thousand dollars and are calling on the Canadian government, who so far has given $5 million, to do more because the cost of rebuilding will be high.

“Some estimates are that it’s going to cost minimum $10 billion (to rebuild),” said CPACT chairperson Zaheer Khan.

The group wants the Canadian government to match donations made by Canadians.

According to Harjit Sajjan, Canada’s minister of international development, more help is forthcoming.

“We’ve been waiting on needs assessments from organizations that we work with on the ground,” he told Global News, “to work out what we can do next and, yes, matching funds is on the table.”

Story continues below advertisement

In the meantime Pakistani Monteralers say they will continue to do what they can to help.

Source link