x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

Pakistani community urged to send aid

Pakistanis should give more money to help their compatriots in Baluchistan province, expatriate leaders said.

DUBAI // Pakistanis should give more money to help their compatriots in Baluchistan province after last Wednesday's earthquake, expatriate leaders said. Pakistan's recently appointed ambassador to the UAE also appealed for cash, which he said could be used to buy medicine for the victims. Syed Sabir Hussain, general secretary of the Pakistan Association Dubai, said he was disappointed by the response to calls for donations.

The association has organised a collection that has so far received 700 blankets and some medicines. "Despite the media attention and constant appeals, the response has been low compared to what we saw during the earthquake in 2005," Mr Hussain said. "Probably the situation in Baluchistan was not properly highlighted." The 6.4-magnitude earthquake killed at least 300 people and destroyed the homes of tens of thousands.

"People are offering used clothes but we do not want this. These people are human beings and they need our love and attention," he said. Khurshed Ahmed Junejo, the Pakistani ambassador, urged people not to send blankets. "They should donate their money through banks. We don't want any other things," he said. "If we ask people, they will start sending blankets, but we only need 4,000 blankets... They need medicine. They need syringes.

"We have spoken to those working in the area and they know what people need. If people send cash, it will reach the affected area in Baluchistan." Mr Junejo said cold weather made the earthquake victims' plight worse. "A lot of people have died and many homes are totally damaged," he said. "In that area it is winter. They are freezing." Mr Junejo said it was a duty for every one of the 850,000 Pakistani expatriates in the UAE to donate whatever they could afford.

Those who wish to donate may contact the Pakistani consulate in Dubai for bank account details. Its telephone number is 04 -3973600. pmenon@thenational.ae