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Charities launch Pakistan floods appeal

By Channel 4 News

Updated on 05 August 2010

As British charities launch an appeal to raise money for victims of the Pakistan floods which have killed more than 1,500 people and affected millions, actor Art Malik tells Channel 4 News why he is fronting the campaign.

Floods hit Pakistan amid fears four million could be hit (Credit: Getty)

The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) - an umbrella organisation representing 13 UK humanitarian aid agencies - broadcast the appeal tonight.

Charities hope to raise funds to help those affected by the floods, the worst to hit the area in 80 years, and says it "urgently needs" the public's help as more floods threaten the area and reports of cholera emerge.  

Actor Art Malik, who was born in Pakistan, appeared on the appeal for ITV and Channel 4, and broadcaster and former hostage John McCarthy fronted the BBC appeal.

Mr Malik told Channel 4 News: "A lot of people feel isolated and may feel the world has forgotten them and that's what the flood appeal is about. We haven't forgotten, we're here and we're going to try and help.
Art Malik
"Whatever you can give will help - just by giving £5 it allows for water, by giving £10 a family will be fed for a  month, £100 supplies a family tent to give somewhere for people to be safe. The most immediate needs are food, medical and sanitation items, tarpaulins and tents."

It is believed that up to three million people in Pakistan have been affected by the devastating floods across the northwest of Pakistan.

Aid agencies are struggling to reach victims as the infrastructure in the country crumbles in the face of the deluge, and there are fears the situation will worsen as more rain hits the country.

The waters have washed away homes, crops, government buildings, businesses, schools, bridges and railway tracks, particularly in the hardest hit area of Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa in the northwest.

"The images are appalling and I can't comprehend what it would be like to suddenly, instantly, lose everything. And not just lose everything, but lose everything you need to survive - not being able to turn on a tap and see water, not having a road to use," said Mr Malik.

"I'm using my fame and profile to pull people's focus. The appeal is important because it's such a vast area. Getting to people and getting resources to them is difficult - in worst case scenarios aid workers have been walking to areas. If the rains continue there will be more tragedy."  

The DEC said that there had also been some reports of cholera cases in the Swat valley, the next major challenge in the recovery effort.

DEC appeal

DEC chief executive Brendan Gormley said: “These floods have destroyed the lives of thousands of families, washing away entire villages and leaving millions of survivors suffering with little food or shelter. With more heavy rain predicted, it is clear the situation is at tipping point and the speed of our response is vital.

"DEC member agencies and their partners are responding but with roads and bridges damaged the challenges we face are considerable. We urgently need the public’s help to save more lives.”

Some aid getting through
Despite the logistical difficulties, aid agencies have delivered some help to the affected communities, the DEC said.

Action Aid has delivered rice, oil and plastic sheeting to more than 23,000 people in the worst hit areas, and set up 12 medical camps; CARE International has sent supplies including tents and shawls to the Swat area for around 1,800 people; World Vision have distributed relief supplies, such as food and water, to more than 7,000 people in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa district; and the International Committee of the Red Cross has provided food parcels for over 20,000 individuals in Balochistan and other areas, which were distributed by its sister organisation the Pakistan Red Crescent Society.

More from Channel 4 News on the floods
- 'Four million' at risk from Pakistan floods
- Emergency aid 'not reaching' flood-hit Pakistan
- Pakistan floods hit three million
- Disease and despair - Channel 4 News's Jonathan Miller writes from Pakistan

Mr Malik said: "This has happened in rural areas, poor rural communities and has affected families displaced with current conflicts. Pakistan may well be poor, but it's young and has taken on lots of problems in the past. It will do what it needs to mobilise its assets - I don't think this was anything they could have been prepared for.

"It is really a logistical nightmare trying to sort things out. This is what the aid agencies do - they bring water sanitation, kitchens, tent, and at the same time they log who is who, who's doing what. It's an extraordinary thing. The organisations are working with the authorities and have long-established relationships with local communities.

"It is so sad but you get overwhelmed when you see how amazing humanity is to mobilise."

How to donate
To make a donation to the DEC Pakistan appeal call the 24 hour hotline on 0370 60 60 900, visit or donate over the counter at any post office or high street bank, or send a cheque.

You can also donate £5 by texting the word GIVE to 70707.

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