Islamic Relief flood aid dinners in Cardiff and Newport


Two fundraising events in south Wales have raised money for the victims of the Pakistan floods.

A dinner and charity auction at Cardiff City Hall on Sunday night followed a similar event in Newport on Saturday.

Organisers were hoping to raise more than £100,000 for the relief effort, with the UN saying up to 20 million people have been affected.

Habib Malik from Islamic Relief told fundraisers it was the worst disaster he had witnessed.

Mr Malik, who has just returned from Pakistan, said: "To see women holding onto their babies next to their chests waiting for baby milk - they were using their thumb, trying to comfort the baby using their thumb.

"I've seen men who couldn't look into their wives or sisters' eyes because they were feeling themselves so helpless.

"I have worked in other disasters such as the Bangladesh floods and tsunami and so on but in my own opinion this probably was the worst... I have experienced myself.

Islamic Relief is working with the UK Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) to provide aid.

Fatehullah Tahir said the dinners were the first in Wales to raise money for the Pakistan flood victims and followed similar fundraising events.

About 500 people were at Sunday's event in Cardiff, while about 170 were at the Newport fundraiser on Saturday.

Tickets for both three-course dinners were priced £10 and would be followed by a charity auction and other fundraising activities, he said.

He said the event was open to the public but saw "a really good response" from Cardiff's Pakistani community.

He said: "It's the worst natural disaster [in Pakistan] since the 1920s.

"It's important for the community to get things together and create some sort of fund to help people in Pakistan."

At least 1,600 people are known to have died in the floods.

The Pakistan Welfare Association Wales has said there are an estimated 16,000 people of Pakistani descent living in Wales, mainly in Cardiff.

Salaheddin Aboulgasem, fund raising manager for Islamic Relief in Wales, said the Cardiff event was about solidarity in the Islamic community

"They've come, they've given their Sunday evening to attend this fundraising dinner... and they've done this in a matter of a week.

'Very generous'

"Some volunteers from the community have got other members of the community to come.

"And they hope to raise good amounts of money for the people of Pakistan."

The Disaster Emergencies Committee (DEC) has said the total raised by Britons stood at about £24m on Friday.

Jeff Williams, chair of DEC in Wales, told BBC Radio Wales the response from the British public had been "very generous".

For the first time in decades the second week of the appeal saw more giving than the first week of the appeal

Mr Williams said there were new areas still being flooded with some 200,000 people fleeing their homes in the south of the country in the past 24 hours.

"It is a tragedy that's unfolding in slow motion and the full impact of this tragedy will only be revealed when the flood waters finally recede and then we can see the extent of the devastation."

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