By Nouman Khalil
In the aftermath of a massive earthquake in parts in Pakistan and Afghanistan, Mississauga-based ICNA Relief Canada has launched a relief operation in the affected areas and is asking for help to support the program.
According to reports, a powerful 7.5-magnitude earthquake Monday (Oct. 26) struck Pakistan and Afghanistan, killing at least 339 people – 78 in Afghanistan and 261 in Pakistan, mostly in the northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) province – and injuring more than 2,000 residents. It also resulted in the destruction of more than 4,000 homes, buildings and roads and bridges. The death toll is expected to rise.
Local authorities, army personnel and rescue workers are currently transporting relief supplies and working to provide shelter to homeless and restore communication lines.
In partnership with Al-Khidmat Foundation, one of Pakistan’s biggest networks of humanitarian services, ICNA Relief Canada also began a relief operation in the KPK province.
“After any crisis, the immediate needs are food, water, medical aid and shelter,” said Junaid Sohail, manager of international programs for ICNA Relief Canada, which is headquartered in Mississauga. “But right now our priority is shelter. As the situation develops, we may also add food, water or medicines.”
He said shelter has been ranked the top priority because the disaster has left thousands of people homeless.
Sohail asked people to send donations to support the relief operation and help those in crisis.
“We have donations already coming in, but more donations we get, the more people we can help,” said Sohail.
Ten years ago, on Oct. 8, 2005, a similar 7.6-magnitude earthquake in Pakistan killed more than 80,000 people and left more than three million homeless.
Seismologists catastrophe was averted this time because the epicenter of the earthquake was deep underground.
However, the prolonged tremors and aftershocks were deemed the worst in the history of Pakistan.
For donations, visit www.icnareliefcanada.ca.
By Nouman Khalil