Oakville woman worried about her family in Pakistan as floods devastate her ancestral home

·2 min read
Noor Jehan Jatoi, 72, came to Canada in 2001 from Beto, a village in Sindh province in Pakistan. She says her village is destroyed and her family is sheltering after catastrophic floods. (CBC - image credit)
Noor Jehan Jatoi, 72, came to Canada in 2001 from Beto, a village in Sindh province in Pakistan. She says her village is destroyed and her family is sheltering after catastrophic floods. (CBC - image credit)

An Oakville woman is worried about her family in Pakistan, where floods have ravaged a third of the country, including the village where her relatives live.

Noor Jehan Jatoi, who came to Canada in 2001, told CBC Toronto her village of Beto, which is in the Dadu District of Sindh province in the country's southwest, is one of thousands swamped by catastrophic floods brought on by an unprecedented monsoon season.

"The whole of Sindh is drowned. A lot of people, farmers, have died, children," said an emotional Jatoi on Friday.

Flash flooding has killed more than 1,000 people since late June, sweeping away villages and crops. The Pakistani government has said approximately one third of the country is under water, affecting 33 million people.

Jatoi's sister and brother, his wife, his son, daughter-in-law and others, have sought shelter and continue to communicate via WhatsApp, sending photos and videos. Jatoi gets emotional when she thinks about her family and her native country. Her ancestral home, the crops and farmland, are gone.

"We're agricultural people, we have just our crops, rice crops, but everything is gone. It's very sad," she said through tears.

Showing CBC Toronto videos sent by her nephew, she expressed frustration and disappointment over what she says is Pakistani government mismanagement.

She and friends and family who live abroad have tried to send money, but it has trouble getting to where it's needed or the Pakistani government rejects it outright, she said. Access to the village is impossible as the major road leading to there is also destroyed, Jatoi said.

"You sit and cry and pray; that's all we can do," she said.

Local imam joins relief effort

Meanwhile, a Mississauga imam who works with the Pakistani community is headed to the flood zone to help with relief efforts.

"We're going to be landing in Lahore and taking a five-hour drive to the devastated area to give some relief aid," Alaa Elsayed said. He said he and a team of volunteers will visit three cities.

CBC
CBC

Elsayed said after working with the Pakistani community for so many years, seeing the devastation hard to bear. He's received several calls from people asking for help and prayers for their family members back in Pakistan.

"It's sad, disheartening," he told CBC Toronto.

"We have them in our prayers; we're going be there for them."

While he said he applauds the Canadian federal government's announcement of $5 million in aid for Pakistan, he also said Ottawa needs to do more.

"We appreciate what they do, but let's try to do better."