Pakistanti Organizations, Sewa International Set Up Flood Relief Appeals

Heavy rainfall in Southern Pakistan and melting glaciers in the country’s northern mountains have caused massive floods and flash floods that continue to devastate districts across the region. The floods have killed at least 1,191 people, 399 of whom were children, since the flooding began in mid-June at the beginning of the monsoon season. In addition to this, a reported 3,554 individuals have been injured. The National Disaster Management Authority stated that as of August 29, 2022, more than 33 million people have been impacted and more than 1 million houses have been destroyed.

The floods have spawned a critical humanitarian crisis as damage and displacement increase across the country. So far, 66 districts have been officially declared “calamity hit.” An estimated 50,000 people have been evacuated since rescue efforts began. Pakistan’s meteorological office has predicted that more flash floods are expected throughout September.

Several local Pakistani heritage groups in Houston are taking it upon themselves to raise funds for the relief efforts. “When Harvey happened I was out in the streets with my boys 17 or 18 hours a day providing rations… but this is something different,” said Salman Razzaqi, founder of the Pakistan Heritage Foundation. “People have been in the water so long that they’re getting diseases. It’s just horrible, words cannot describe what’s going on. It’s the world’s greatest disaster ever,” Razzaqi said quietly.

Aid relief poster from the Council of Progressive Pakistani Americans in Houston.

Razzaqi says that so far the Pakistani Heritage Foundation has gathered over $100,000 to send to Pakistan, largely raised from within Houston’s own Pakistani community. The Pakistan Association of Greater Houston, for example, has placed donation bins in front of various mosques around the region.

Sewa International has released $10,000 towards flood relief in Pakistan and started a fundraiser to assist the affected people with a goal to provide groceries and other supplies to 5,000 families for at least a month. “Pakistan is witnessing a severe weather catastrophe. Sewa’s partner organizations on the ground in Pakistan distributed grocery and essential kits to 200 families today (August 30). These kits contain rice, wheat flour, cooking oil, pulses, tea and vegetables, and other hygiene supplies in flood-affected areas. We request people to donate generously for this cause,” Sewa’s Vice President for Disaster Relief, Swadesh Katoch, said. “Sewa International helped Pakistan during the last floods in Sindh province, and we are committed to helping as many Pakistani citizens as possible,” Katoch said.

Bags of potatoes and other items being prepared in a Sewa facility in Pakistan.

One of the world’s oldest preserved human settlements has been significantly damaged by torrential rain in Pakistan as the country battles the worst floods in its history. Moenjodaro (also styled Mohenjo-daro), a World Heritage site in the Indus River Valley 508 kilometers (316 miles) from Karachi, was built in the Bronze Age, some 5,000 years ago. “Unfortunately we witnessed the mass destruction at the site,” reads a letter from the Cultural, Tourism, & Antiquities Department of Singh state sent to UNESCO and signed by curator Ihsan Ali Abbasi.