Birmingham & Black Country

West Midlands donations 'reaching Pakistan's neediest'

Image caption Mr Aslam says he makes sure money raised gets to those who need it

Disaster zones seem to fill our newspapers, websites and TV bulletins. Climate change or the ease of the electronic media bring the world closer together to make these natural disasters of concern to us all.

Last August the floods in Pakistan were the worst in living memory. Almost 2,000 people died with an estimated 20 million people affected.

For BBC1's Inside Out West Midlands, Radio WM's Louise Brierley and myself travelled around Pakistan meeting those still living in the aftermath of the floods.

Throughout our journey, people complained about a lack of government help and told us that their nation could be a strong prosperous country but for the corruption of their politicians.

A local journalist approached us in one village, where the Birmingham-based charity Islamic Relief is working on rebuilding 100 homes and repairing water channels.

Malik Ansar, from Rohi TV, told us the government had promised to build 40 villages to replace those destroyed in the floods.

'Holding aid'

He said: "There are lots of problems with corruption.

"When food comes to non-government agencies that is fair.

"When it is coming through our government then they were giving the food or aid to their political allies."

The Pakistan government has recently admitted holding back £50m in aid saying that it is still evaluating the best way to spend the money.

Image caption Mr Ansar said corruption effects aid getting through

But one man, from Walsall in the Black Country, is doing all he can to make sure people get the help they need.

Mohammed Aslam, our guide as we travelled around, is a retired bus driver and MBE, the honour bestowed on him by Prince Charles for services to the community in the West Midlands.

He is the founder of Midlands International Aid Trust and said West Midlands residents wanted to help the flood victims.

"Six months ago people in the Midlands wanted to help," he said.

"Up to £80,000 was raised and we made sure people in the most remote villages had tents and food.

"If we are given money then we make sure we buy the goods and deliver them to those that need them."

This is his 50th trip to a disaster area in the world.

'Midland Village'

For almost 20 years he has travelled to Africa, Haiti, Turkey and the former Yugoslavia, helping small communities from whatever religion or race to recover from the worst that Mother Nature can unleash.

Charities like this are playing a vital role in Pakistan - delivering targeted aid and helping to provide communities with the means to rebuild their own lives.

The trust has few overheads and is backed by a consultant from the Walsall Manor Hospital and a dentist from West Bromwich.

Near the central city of Multan, we found a hot and dusty village, the land scoured and bruised by the torrents.

Image caption Peter visits some of the children Mr Aslam's charity has helped

But, amazingly we find an archway leading to a village with the words "Midland Village" emblazoned over our heads.

The village and a nearby school have all been renamed in honour of Mr Aslam's charity.

He is on a mission to help the poorest communities and prevent medical emergencies like the one he encountered last summer where three children from one village each had to have one of their kidney's removed after drinking unpurified water.

The charity has provided the materials and resources but it is the villagers who have built their homes.

One woman clutching her child told us: "We were in trouble when this was flooded.

"Then Midland came and provided us many things, now we are happy, we are confident that we can start our life."

Mr Aslam makes sure he inspects the projects, making sure the money is not siphoned away but that everything donated by ordinary people in the West Midlands gets to those who need it most.

The 71-year-old will continue tirelessly travelling around the country talking to people about what they need and making sure that they get it.

See more on BBC Inside Out West Midlands at 1930 GMT on 7 February.

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