Islanders with ties to Pakistan working to raise funds for flood victims

·2 min read
People wade through flood waters during the monsoon season in Nowshera, Pakistan on Aug. 31, 2022. (Fayaz Aziz/Reuters - image credit)
People wade through flood waters during the monsoon season in Nowshera, Pakistan on Aug. 31, 2022. (Fayaz Aziz/Reuters - image credit)

Najam Chishti has been trying to keep in constant communication with his relatives back home in Pakistan, where flooding has killed more than 1,150 people and destroyed or damaged around a million homes since mid-June.

Chishti now lives on P.E.I. but his cousins live in Sindh — the country's worst-affected province — and they told him they're having to deal with leaky roofs and broken windows while water is still coming into their homes.

"They have no other place to go because there's not that many high-rise buildings that they can go into," said Chishti, who's the president of the Muslim Society of P.E.I.

"There are kids sitting on top of the roofs of their houses waiting to be rescued. No food, no water there," he said.

"The need is now, not in a month's time."

Thinh Nguyen/CBC
Thinh Nguyen/CBC

Chishti and other members of the society are holding a fundraiser in Charlottetown Friday afternoon to raise relief funds to help Pakistan's flood victims.

The society will be giving away home-baked items to those who donate at the mosque on McAleer Drive.

'Really depressing to see'

UPEI student Mohammad Qasim, who's also from Pakistan, is also taking part in the fundraiser.

He said friends and family back in his home city of Lahore haven't been seriously affected, but he has friends living in flood-stricken parts of Punjab province.

Submitted by Mohammad Qasim
Submitted by Mohammad Qasim

Qasim has received photos and videos from his friends showing how buildings have been swept away and many tourist attractions are now under water.

"That's really depressing to see," he said.

"Living very far away from home, I'm still kind of getting affected emotionally by seeing all my friends and family and those beautiful places getting affected."

Submitted by Mohammad Qasim
Submitted by Mohammad Qasim

Qasim said he's been sending money to people he knows in Pakistan who need support, and he will be at the fundraiser on Friday afternoon to see what else he can do to help.

And he is encouraging others to do the same.

"If anyone would be willing to donate, that would be great, and that would be of great help to the flood victims," he said.

Thinh Nguyen/CBC
Thinh Nguyen/CBC

Chishti said he's hoping to raise about $5,000 from the fundraiser. Then he will ask people in the Pakistani community on P.E.I. if they know specific people back home who are in dire need of help, and direct donations there.

Some of the funds raised will also go to Islamic Relief Canada as well as the Canadian Red Cross.

Chishti said the Muslim community on P.E.I. consists of people from 39 different countries, including Pakistan, and he's confident the society can meet its fundraising goal.

"I'm sure that they will all contribute toward it."