Windsor-Essex group asks federal government for more support following floods in Pakistan

·3 min read
Mohsin Naqvi is the secretary general of the Pakistan Canada Association Windsor. The group is pressing the federal government to do more for the community's loved ones who are in Pakistan and dealing with unprecedented flooding.  (Jennifer La Grassa/CBC - image credit)
Mohsin Naqvi is the secretary general of the Pakistan Canada Association Windsor. The group is pressing the federal government to do more for the community's loved ones who are in Pakistan and dealing with unprecedented flooding. (Jennifer La Grassa/CBC - image credit)

As Windsor-Essex's Pakistani community watches from afar as their homeland gets swept away by floods, a local association is asking the federal government to do more in financial and humanitarian aid.

The unprecedented monsoon season has affected all of Pakistan's provinces, triggering flash floods across the country that have affected 33 million Pakistanis, damaged nearly one million homes and killed at least 1,061 people.

Many people displaced by floods have not only lost their homes, but their crops and small shops as well.

On Tuesday, the Pakistan Canada Association Windsor met with Windsor-Tecumseh Liberal MP Irek Kusmierczyk and Minister of Transportation Omar Alghabra to lobby the federal government for more support.

"It's emotional stress on everybody, because everybody is concerned," said Mohsin Naqvi, secretary general of the Pakistan Canada Association Windsor.

"When you see those gruesome pictures and videos on Pakistan TV stations, you wish you could do something."

According to the Pakistan Canada Association Windsor, there's about 4,000 Pakistani households in Windsor-Essex.

"I am feeling that my emotions are so bad that I don't feel that I can see some videos, honestly," said Majid Maswod, joint secretary with the Pakistan Canada Association Windsor.

"Sometimes I see [the videos], [but] sometimes my mind is not accepting that, I can't see that because we can't do anything."

Jennifer La Grassa/CBC
Jennifer La Grassa/CBC

Government pledges $5 M to help 

On Monday, Canada's federal government announced $5 million in funding for humanitarian assistance to partner with agencies on the ground.

In an email from Global Affairs Canada, it said that the $5 million dollars announced will "provide critical emergency assistance, including food and cash assistance for the most severely affected people."

It said this funding is in addition to the existing support Canada provides through the Emergency Disaster Assistance Fund with the Canadian Red Cross and the contributions it makes to the UN Central Emergency Response Fund.

Naqvi said the local Pakistan association wants to see the federal government match dollar-for-dollar donations made to Pakistan through Canadian not-for-profit organizations. He said they'd also like to see food, blankets and shelter sent over to help people.

"We're talking about 20, 30 million people, the population of Canada which is homeless, children without food, there is no place to shower, there is no place to sleep," Naqvi said.

Alghabra told CBC News that the government is following the situation and will continue to assess what is needed.

"The Canadian government is committed to doing everything we can to help the people of Pakistan," he said.

"I want the members of the Pakistani Canadian community to know that we are listening to them, they will have some unique perspective on what is happening there, ideas on what can be done."

This week, the Pakistan Canada Association Windsor said it raised more than $300,000 in donations, which it sent to the country through Canadian charities. It said it plans to hold another fundraising event soon.