Pakistan flood aid is still in warehouse six months on

MORE than 200 food boxes collected in Halifax last year in aid of the Pakistan Flood Appeal are still in West Yorkshire.

But, businessman Altaf Hussain has given reassurances to concerned Halifax donors that the parcels will be sent by March.

He and his team of volunteers have sent out 3,500 food boxes in a series of consignments delivered free by Pakistan International Airlines and around 300 of those were collected in Halifax.

Mr Hussain said the remaining boxes collected in Halifax were delivered to him early in November and too late to be sent free of charge.

He said fund-raisers will pay for another consignment to include those boxes and other items of need during February/March.

The delay has upset Yasser Ali, of Milton Place, Halifax, who acted as agent for this area and sought the help of parents at Mount Pellon School and mosques.

“I was going around working day and night and I’m devastated,” he said.

His colleague Star Mahmood, also of Halifax, said food parcels were lying around instead of being sent to those in need of them.

“People have given in good faith and those parcels should have been sent. If there is an obstacle people should be up front about it.”

He added if a similar disaster happened again people might be less likely to support relief programmes.

Mr Hussain, of HeatingSpares 245, Hockney Industrial Estate, Bradford, said the logistics of transferring goods to Birmingham Airport and tying up arrangements with a charity in Pakistan to distribute the goods meant they could not be sent as soon as collected in a small batch.

“There is quite a lot of planning involved and we are a small group of volunteers,” he said.

“We have to plan the next shipment.”

Mr Hussain said suport was still needed but people should not buy foodstuffs as other items such as medicines and clothing maybe targeted for the next delivery.

Debbie Lowles, deputy head teacher at Mount Pellon School, said parcels were collected through the school’s parent-link group.

“We understood they would be shipped straightaway,” she said.

“Our parent link group would be horrified if food did not reach where it was going.”

The worst floods in 70 years hit north-west Pakistan in late July. Around 20 million people were affected and 2,000 lives lost.