x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Thousands of supplies are shipped to flood-ravaged areas of Pakistan

The Pakistani community in the UAE has responded to the latest flood crisis in their homeland by sending food and supplies to help their countrymen.

Rizwan Fancy, the community welfare secretary for Pad, second from right, hands out aid to people in the flood-hit Sindh province in Pakistan during Eid Al Adha.
Rizwan Fancy, the community welfare secretary for Pad, second from right, hands out aid to people in the flood-hit Sindh province in Pakistan during Eid Al Adha.

DUBAI // Rice, sugar, noodles, blankets and tents are among the supplies that Pakistani nationals in the UAE have donated to a flood-hit region of their homeland.

Following an appeal for help by the Pakistan Association of Dubai (Pad), hundreds of people have responded by donating the items, which also include dry milk, lentils, flour, shoes, clothes and medicines.

The items are being taken to Pakistan by sea, and will be distributed to those in need.

"We had a good response from the Pakistani community in the Emirates following the floods," said Rizwan Fancy, the association's community welfare secretary. "We managed to fill a 40 foot container with the items, and it's now already on its way to Pakistan."

Volunteers also helped to sort, pack, and load the supplies.

Severe monsoon rains flooded the country's south-eastern region of Sindh Province in mid-August.

The disaster left people who were already struggling to recover from last year's floods in an even more dire situation.

Thousands of homes, crops and businesses were washed away. Hundreds were killed and millions were left homeless.

"The waters are receding now, but people still need supplies of medicines, tents, food and blankets with winter fast approaching," said Dr Faisel Ikram, the association's general secretary.

"We had the appeal about a month ago and asked people to provide us with new items of clothing, non-perishable foods and blankets. We also asked people to donate cash so we could buy items cheaper within Pakistan."

Although there was a small element of donor fatigue, he said most people were willing to help.

Once the items have arrived in Pakistan, they will be received by Pad's own non-governmental organisation, which has a network of distributors in the country.

"We will also work with local charities and NGOs who know where the real need is for these goods," Mr Ikram said.

Pad has already worked to set up temporary camps in areas such as Badin, Tandu Baku and Gadab Sindh. The association also has been working with the Red Crescent in Pakistan.

"The focus now is moving toward building homes for displaced people and trying to get them back to work," he said.

"Much of the farming land and cattle was lost during the floods, so we are looking into ways of buying cattle for people, which will then help them to get back their livelihoods. The key thing is to help people to fend for themselves and their families."

A longer-term goal was to set up special maternity units to help pregnant women, Mr Ikram said.

nhanif@thenational.ae