• Thu. Jun 13th, 2024

Oxford councillor heading to Pakistan to help flood victims


Sep 6, 2022

A COUNCILLOR is set to embark on a solo mission to help provide aid to victims of flooding in Pakistan.

Flooding at the end of August covered an area larger than the UK, killing approximately 1,300 people and impacting 33 million, according to the Government’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.

The UK pledged £16.5 million this week to help with the crisis, including a promise to double donations made to the Disasters Emergency Committee, up to £5 million.

Officials in southern Pakistan have warned more flooding is expected as Lake Manchar swells from unprecedented monsoon rains that began in mid-June.

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Oxford city councillor Saj Malik will be travelling to Pakistan, having also done so when the country suffered devastating floods in 2010.

Twelve years ago, estimates of the total number of people killed ranged from 1,200 to 2,200.

Generous donators in Oxford have so far provided more than £4,000, which will go toward food and medical supplies.

A food parcel, costing £20 in donations, includes flour, rice, salt, chickpeas, tea, spices, soap and detergent, while £140 funds a fully equipped medical camp, providing medicine for 100 people.

Mr Malik told this newspaper: “I’m travelling out in mid-October as by then, I’m hoping the water levels will be down.

“When that happens, we’re able to open the medical camps.

Oxford Mail: People wade through floodwaters in Sohbatpur. Picture: Zahid Hussain/APPeople wade through floodwaters in Sohbatpur. Picture: Zahid Hussain/AP

“This flooding is providing lots of challenges, and even when the flooding goes down, there’ll be other challenges, as that’s when the diseases become a problem.

“I shall be there for a week, I’ve got people and doctors on the ground ready, so I know who the needy will be and the hungry.”

Mr Malik, who is funding his own travel expenses, added: “I know what to expect but I know from doing this in 2010, it can have an effect on your mental health.

“I’ve done this before, it’s a task and a responsibility but I want to do it.

“I’ve seen the devastation first hand – I’m blessed not just to be here, but in a generous country which is a giving nation.

Oxford Mail: Oxford city councillor Saj Malik. Picture: Jon LewisOxford city councillor Saj Malik. Picture: Jon Lewis

“I know if I didn’t live here in Oxford, I’d be one of those people in the floods.

“The people of Oxford give generously.

“The community here has never let me down, they’re very generous.

“I’m paying for the ticket on my own, and every penny will go to the needy.”

For more information on how to donate, please contact Mr Malik on sajjadm07@gmail.com

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This story was written by Liam Rice, he joined the team in 2019 as a multimedia reporter.

Liam covers politics, travel and transport. He occasionally covers Oxford United.

Get in touch with him by emailing: Liam.rice@newsquest.co.uk

Follow him on Twitter @OxMailLiamRice