Luton residents are rallying in support of communities in Pakistan after the country was hit by historic flooding. Mosques, local businesses, organisations and individuals have been working together, hosting events including a sponsored car wash and a charity dinner. The funds will go towards relief efforts in Pakistan, where 33 million people have been affected by flooding. Many have lost homes, crops and livestock in the heaviest monsoon season for a decade.
Among those playing a key role in coordinating the fundraising efforts is local radio station Inspire FM. “What we’re telling people is that we will market whatever they are doing,” says Operations Manager Mohammed Tariq. “If there are people out there who can do a run, a sponsored walk, whatever you can do to raise money – then we as a radio station are happy to promote that, and to support them in their venture. And if there are people who want to raise money but don’t know of a credible charity, then we can help there too and bring people together.” Inspire FM’s website will be listing details of local fundraising events and projects.
It has been a difficult year for Pakistan, and for Luton families with a connection to the country. Earlier this year Pakistan was hit with a heatwave unparalleled in 122 years of temperature records. Scientists have since suggested that climate change made the heatwave 30 times more likely. Now Pakistan has been hit again, this time by devastating floods, driven by higher rates of glacial meltwater combining with very heavy monsoon rains.
“When you have disasters like this, it brings home the impact of ignoring the environment,” says Tariq. “It’s very important at times like this to not only help and support, but also to look at the causes of why it’s happening, and see the bigger picture.”