Najam Chishti has been trying to stay in constant communication with her relatives 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 in PEI, but her cousins live in Sindh, the country’s hardest-hit province, and she was told they have to deal with leaky roofs and broken windows as water continues to pour into their homes.
“They don’t have anywhere else to go because there aren’t many high-rise buildings they can get into,” said Chishti, president of the PEI Muslim Society.
“There are children sitting on top of the roofs of their houses waiting to be rescued. There is no food or water there,” he said.
“The need is now, not in a month.”
Chishti and other members of the society will hold a fundraiser in Charlottetown on Friday afternoon to raise relief funds to help Pakistani flood victims.
The society will give away home baked goods to those who donate at the mosque on McAleer Drive.
‘Really depressing to watch’
UPEI student Mohammad Qasim, who is also from Pakistan, is also participating in the fundraiser.
He said his friends and family in his hometown of Lahore have not been seriously affected, but he has friends who live in flood-affected parts of Punjab province.
Qasim has received photos and videos from his friends showing how buildings have been leveled and many tourist attractions are now under water.
“It’s really depressing to see that,” he said.
“Living so far from home, I still feel emotionally affected seeing all my friends and family and those beautiful places affected.”
Qasim said he has been sending money to people he knows in Pakistan who need support, and that 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 someone were willing to donate, that would be great and it would be a great help to the victims of the floods,” he said.
Chishti said she hopes to raise about $5,000 from the fundraiser. She will then ask people in the Pakistani community in PEI if they know of specific people in their country 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 that the Muslim community in PEI is made up of people from 39 different countries, including Pakistan, and he is confident that the society can meet its fundraising goal.
“I’m sure everyone will contribute to it.”