Humanity First Canada Aids in Pakistan Flood Relief Effort

“Up to 10 Toronto-area doctors are placing their lucrative practices on hold to help victims in flood-ravaged Pakistan.

The physicians will join front-line doctors in Islamabad and other cities in treating people suffering from rashes, diarrhea, cholera and waterborne diseases. They leave for Pakistan in about three weeks and will remain there for about 10 days.

Volunteering doctors and members of the aid group, Humanity First, were at a Vaughan warehouse on Sunday packing medical supplies, canned goods and clothing donated by community members. The goods will be flown there free by Pakistan International Airlines.

“We will be out in the field treating people who are suffering,” said podiatrist Dr. Shahnaz Dar. “I can stay here and make a whole lot of money or go there and make a difference.”

Dar said the group, which includes Liberal MP Jim Karygiannis, will take skids of antibiotics, penicillin, water purification pills and other supplies.

“Women and children are the ones most affected,” said Dar. “There is a lack of clean drinking water and that leads to waterborne diseases.”

Floods, triggered by heavier than normal monsoon rains, have killed more than 1,500 people in Pakistan and left 20 million others homeless, according to government estimates. Cholera and malaria are growing concerns.

The Canadian doctors will work with medical personnel from Murshid Hospital in Karachi and the Pakistan Medical Association once they touch down.

Dr. Aslam Daud, who’s the head of Humanity First, said he expects to treat “a lot of patients with infectious diseases.”

“There is still an urgent need for mosquito nets and medical suppliies,” Daud said at the Bowes Rd. warehouse. “This is one of the biggest disasters in modern times and it is our duty to help.”

Karygiannis said he sent letters to all the physicians in his Scarborough Agincourt riding and expects about 10 of them to make the trip.

“The situation in Pakistan is terrible and millions of people are affected,” he said. “We have had excellent response from members of the community who want to help out.”

Goods can be dropped off until Sept. 20 at 1225B Kennedy Rd., Scarborough, and 245 Bowes Rd., Concord. There’s a need for children’s anti-rash cream, water purification tablets, powdered milk, rice, lentils, beans, vegetable oil, soaps, blankets and tents.”

– The Toronto Sun (http://www.torontosun.com/news/torontoandgta/2010/08/15/15031881.html)

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