CHICAGO (CBS) – It’s been four months since monsoon rains crippled much of Pakistan. Despite lasting devastation there, the world’s attention has been largely focused on other disasters. Chicago’s Pakistani-American community would like to change that. CBS 2’s Jim Williams reports.
The numbers have been staggering: Pakistan’s worst floods in 80 years, one-fifth of the country underwater. Twenty million people were without food, clean water and shelter — including 10 million children.
And yet recent disasters: the 2004 Tsunami, Hurricane Katrina and the Haiti earthquake all received more attention.
Faisal Riaz and Mohsin Abbasi, Chicago businessmen and Pakistani-Americans, are trying to remind us just how much devastation remains in Pakistan.
“It’s Katrina, Tsunami and Haiti combined, and we don’t know anything about it,” said Abbasi.
“Seven million people are still, to this day, three months in, homeless, even as winter is approaching,” said Riaz.
Riaz and Abbasi have helped organize a fundraiser Sunday night; not only to collect money for relief efforts in Pakistan, but to raise awareness that Pakistan — especially its children — will need help for some time.
“Most of the natural disasters that we see throughout the world, it’s usually the poorest, weakest that are affected,” said Riaz. “And that’s the case in Pakistan this time.”
“It’s not about countries. It’s not about races. It’s about humans taking care of humans,” said Abbasi. “And when children are involved, I don’t care what nationality they are, children are going to be children, and we really need to do something about it.”
Sunday’s fundraiser is at Alhambra Palace in the West Loop from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. For more information and to purchase tickets, click here.