Pipa News |
As the Pakistani community of Windsor-Essex watches from afar as their homeland is washed away by flooding, a local association is asking the federal government to do more in financial and humanitarian aid.
An unprecedented rainy season has affected every province in Pakistan, causing flash floods across the country that have affected 33 million Pakistanis, damaged nearly a million homes and killed at least 1,061 people.
Many people displaced by the floods lost not only their homes, but also their crops and small shops.
On Tuesday, the Windsor Association of Pakistan and Canada met with Liberal Windsor-Tecumseh MP Irek Kusmerchik and Transportation Minister Omar Algabra to lobby the federal government for more support.
“This is emotional stress for everyone because everyone is worried,” said Mohsin Naqvi, general secretary of the Windsor Association of Pakistan and Canada.
“When you see these horrible pictures and videos on Pakistani TV channels, you feel like doing something.”
There are approximately 4,000 Pakistani families in Windsor-Essex, according to the Pakistani-Canadian Association of Windsor.
“I feel like my emotions are so bad that I don’t feel like I can watch some of the videos, to be honest,” said Majid Maswod, joint secretary of the Pakistan-Canadian Windsor Association.
“Sometimes I see [the videos], [but] sometimes my mind won’t accept it, I can’t see it because there’s nothing we can do.”
Government pledges $5 million in aid
On Monday, Canada’s federal government announced $5 million in humanitarian aid to partner agencies on the ground, including food and money, to go to people in the hardest-hit areas.
Naqvi said the local Pakistani association wants the federal government to match the dollar donations made to Pakistan through Canadian nonprofits. He said they would also like people to be sent food, blankets and shelter.
“We are talking about 20, 30 million people, a population of Canada that is homeless, children without food, nowhere to shower, nowhere to sleep,” Naqvi said.
Algabra told CBC News that the government is monitoring the situation and will continue to assess what is needed.
“The Government of Canada is committed to doing everything possible to help the people of Pakistan,” he said.
“I want members of the Pakistani-Canadian community to know that we are listening to them, they will have a unique perspective on what’s going on there, ideas of what can be done.”
CBC News approached Home Affairs Canada for further support but did not receive a response in time for publication.
This week, the Pakistani-Canadian Windsor Association said it had raised more than $300,000 in donations that were sent to the country through Canadian charities. He said he plans to hold another fundraising event soon.