My interview with The News regarding shortage of donations after Ramazan, for flood victims.
By Rabia Ali
Citizen donations for the 20 million flood victims are fast drying up in a period where relief and welfare organisations are aiming to begin reconstruction of flood-hit areas, The News has learnt.
Fundraising campaigns had received an overwhelming response during the holy month of Ramzan, when the flood victims needed to be fed and accommodated, but social workers now complain that those who donated generously in the holy month have ceased to donate relief items and cash.
This has put relief efforts in jeopardy, as humanitarian organisations and groups are facing hardships in aiding the resettlement of survivors back in their hometowns.
Ali Abbas of the Pakistan Youth Alliance said that after Ramzan, they have been able to raise only Rs2 million as compared to Rs20 million raised during the holy month. “We need billions of rupees for the rehabilitation of the survivors but somehow, people have forgotten about the plight of these people and have stopped donating,” he said.
Abbas narrated that the PYA wanted to rebuild a school in Nowshera which was destroyed by the floods, but the lack of funding has made them unable to do so. “This is the world’s worst humanitarian disaster as thousands of people have been rendered homeless and penniless. The media and social activists should keep on reminding that public that the IDPs need their help continuously and the process of donating should not stop,” he said.
Moez Premani of Karachi Relief Trust urged people to help them into reconstructing houses for the homeless. “We are now in the construction phase, where houses would be built in parts of interior Sindh for the flood survivors. For that, we need the support of the citizens into contributing towards the noble cause. Those who can afford can also adopt villages and assist us into resettling them,” he explained.
Al-Khidmat Welfare Society Secretary Tanvirullah Khan told The News that donations received after Eid are merely two per cent of the Rs100 million that the organisation acquired during Ramazan.
“People have simply stopped contributing as they think that they have fulfilled their responsibility by paying Zakat in Ramzan to the flood survivors. The public should realise that the magnitude of the disaster is gigantic, and it is now that the affected need our help the most,” he said.
Khan argued that the affected people have started heading back to their native hometowns, and thus, organisations are in dire need of monetary donations in order to build thatched huts, concrete houses, schools and mosques.
Z.A. Shah, the disaster management manager of the Pakistan Red Crescent Society, blamed the media for creating a pejorative perception of relief efforts. “The media does not highlight the positive work of the relief organisations, and keeps on showing that the internally displaced people (IDPs) are not getting any aid. This false perception is creating distrust among those who donate to social organisations, and they feel that since their donations are not reaching the public, it is useless to contribute,” he lamented.
Shah added that non-governmental organisations are witnessing a massive decline in their fundraising campaigns, and hoped that people would once again come forward to help.