Legislators Lead Drive for Pakistani Flood Relief
by Rebecca Henely
September 2, 2010
City Councilman Danny Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) and state Sen. Jose Peralta (D-Jackson Heights) urged residents to donate money and food for those suffering from the floods in Pakistan at a news conference at Pakistani restaurant Kabab King Diner in Jackson Heights last Thursday.
“These floods have taken a tremendous toll on the people who live there,” Dromm said.
More than 2,000 people have died and 20 million have been affected by the massive flooding in the country, which began in late July from monsoon rains. Despite the large number of people imperiled by the disaster, some from Queens have been reluctant to give, due to distrust of the weak Pakistani government and uncertainty over whether the money donated will go to those affected.
Dromm said more than 4 million people have been left homeless by the floods.
“Can you imagine the devastation there would be if more than half the people in New York City were without homes?” he asked.
Dromm and Peralta recommended two organizations operating in the area: the Bilquis Edhi Foundation, which has its American base of operations in Corona and can send money to its head office in Karachi, Pakistan, and the Council of Peoples Organization in Brooklyn.
“We’re here to send the message that we need your help. We need your support,” Peralta said.
Mohammad Razvi, executive director of COPO, said the organization has people on the ground in Pakistan who have been bringing food to the flood victims.
“I can’t explain to you how devastating it is to the Pakistani people,” he said.
Peralta also suggested residents donate by texting FLOOD to 27722, which will send $10 through the user’s phone bill to the U.S. State Department’s Pakistan Relief Fund, or SWAT to 50555, which will send $10 to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, which has teams in Pakistan providing supplies.
Dromm and Peralta also highlighted the Elmhurst-based South Asian Youth Action, which held a bake sale Friday to raise funds for the Edhi Foundation. Amy Paul, development and communications manager for SAYA!, said the group raised $210.
“Our youth are very connected to our relatives in Pakistan,” Paul said.
Peralta said residents should go to the Federal Trade Commission’s website at ftc.gov and see if any charity they wish to donate to is registered.
Dromm also gave $50 checks from his own pocket to both the Edhi Foundation and COPO as well as canned goods for COPO’s food drive.
“You don’t have to be rich to help the people in Pakistan,” he said.
The As-Siddiq Muslim Organization at 117-25 133rd St. South Ozone Park and the Coney Island Avenue Project at 1117 Coney Island Ave., Suite 1R in Brooklyn both said they are also raising funds for flood relief.
The American Red Cross is also collecting money for relief efforts with its Red Cross and Red Crescent societies in other countries, including the Pakistani Red Crescent. Those interested can donate at the American Red Cross’ website at http://american.redcross.org, by phone at 1-800-RED-CROSS or by check in the mail to American Red Cross P.O. Box 4002018 Des Moines, IA 50340-2018. If sending a check, indicate “Pakistan Relief and Development” in the memo line.
To donate to Edhi, send checks made out to “Edhi International Foundation” at 45-11 National St., Corona, NY 11368. To donate to COPO, write checks to “COPO Flood Fund” or drop off canned foods Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 1081 Coney Island Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11230. Food can also be dropped off at 45-10 Parsons Blvd., Second Floor in Flushing.
Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.