Pakistan Relief Effort

By: Diane Cho
By: Diane Cho

The death toll in Pakistan keeps climbing to unfathomable numbers. Even though the devastation may seem too far away for many of us to feel the effects, one local doctor is. News 12 is on your side to find out how those in our community were impacted and what their plans are to help.

Officials are now saying the numbers could exceed as high as 80,000 today. As Dr. Afzal tells us, many of the needs in Pakistan are medically related and plans here locally to help are underway.

“My hometown is a bigger city. There was a lot of destruction, thanks God our house was okay,” said Dr. Nadeem Afzal.

Dr. Nadeem Afzal grew up in the outskirts of Kashmir in a city known as Abbot Abad, only an hour away from the hardest hit areas of Muzzafrabad, and has family members still residing there.

“My parents and brother are okay, a few cracks in the house but otherwise a pretty solid house,” Dr. Afzal said.

Unfortunately many in the area were not as lucky. Dr. Afzal says many living in the more rural areas are poor and live in houses made of mud and stone.

“In winters without earthquakes so many collapse because walls get soaked and they can crumble down. The ones in the smaller areas, they’re the one I’m worried about and days are passing,” Dr. Afzal said.

Now that the winter months are approaching, Dr. Afzal worries those who survived the initial phase may not make it through the frigid weather.

“The temperature goes below zero and in the mountains the snowfall starts right about now,” Dr. Afzal said.

The cold weather is making items like blankets and warm clothes more valuable to those who need it.

“Anything, monetary donations, blankets, tents, warm clothes, shoes, anything will go a long way,” Dr. Afzal said.

And for Dr. Afzal it’s not a matter of if he’ll go to help, but when.

“I want to go, I will go. Dr. Chaudri, Chief of MCG is planning to take a team soon, he got a lot of donations,” Dr. Afzal said.

Dr. Afzal says the Chief of MCG plans on heading over to Pakistan with relief efforts sometime late this week or early next week. And the Islamic Center of Augusta will begin their fundraisers this weekend.

If you want to help, you can always go to any of the national relief organizations like the Red Cross or OXFAM to donate money or you can stop by the Islamic Center of Augusta located off of Middleton St. in Martinez. Click here to visit the Islamic Center of Augusta’s website.


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