Disaster Relief

Published: Wednesday, 10/12/2005 12:00 am EDT

Pledges poured in from around the world to cope with the aftermath of one of the deadliest natural disaster's in Pakistan's history. An earthquake last weekend killed at least 20,000 and the death toll continues to rise. Some of the countries' hardest hit communities are the most remote, nestled in the mountains and only accessible by roads that are now blocked with debris, says Pakistan's Deputy High Commissioner to Canada Najm us Saqib. Mr. Saqib says that Canada is generous to contribute $20 million to relief efforts, but adds that winter temperatures means that international help must arrive with greater speed. "It has been slow. But the response has been encouraging. Such things do take time," he says. An estimated 200,000 Pakistanis live in Toronto and neighbouring Mississauga. In Ottawa, the Pakistan-Canada Association is raising awareness and funds. The High Commission of Pakistan, led by Shahid Malik (above), is accepting donations, and for more information call the mission 24 hours a day at 238-7881. To reach officials in Islamabad, the capital, dial from Canada (011 92-51-920-76-921, 920-95-22, or 902-95-44.) "We have never seen such a catastrophe in our history. There is no dearth of manpower ­ but we need assistance, "says Mr. Saqib, encouraging the donation of food, blankets and medicine.

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