News: Alberta donating $500k to help flooded Pakistan

Published in the August 17th issue of The Edmonton Sun. News

Alberta donating $500k to help flooded Pakistan

Edmonton Sun

The province is donating $500,000 to the Red Cross for relief efforts in flooded Pakistan.

“Imagine a population the size of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta combined, all homeless. That’s the scope of what has happened,” said Steve Armstrong, director of Canadian Red Cross Alberta division. “The money will certainly be put to good use.”

The United Nations says more than 13 million Pakistanis have been affected by what has been called the worst flooding in the country in over 80 years.

“The situation is getting worse,” said Arif Ali, a member of the Edmonton Pakistan Flood Relief Committee, whose parents and sister are currently in Pakistan.

“There’s a shortage of water, food, and there is a big fear of spreading cholera. They (my family) were saying it would be better if they were dead.”

Armstrong says buildings, bridges, roads and railways have been destroyed, making delivering relief items like food, water and medicine extremely challenging.

However the donation from the Alberta government will help the Red Cross’ efforts.

“We think it’s a remarkable, generous leadership to provide that assistance,” he said.

The $500,000 comes from the Other Initiatives Program (OIP) through the Ministry of Culture and Community Spirit.

A portion of lottery and regulated gaming in the province goes towards community initiatives like the OIP.

On Monday night, the Pakistan Flood Relief Committee held a fundraising dinner to raise money for relief efforts as well.

Despite donations from both provincial and federal government, along with community initiatives, flood relief committee member Ansar Qureshi says the worst might not be over for his devastated home country.

“The monsoon season has not ended yet. There may be one or two more waves,” he said.

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