By Amanda MacMillan
FIRST Minister Alex Salmond has announced an extra £300,000 for the flood victims in Pakistan and praised the aid efforts of the Scottish people so far.
The £300,000 will be added to the emergency funding announced last month, making a total of £807,000 to be distributed to 15 Scottish organisations delivering much-needed relief to the country.
Mr Salmond said: “The Mosque here has been a hub of relief effort as people meet up to gather funds and to do what they can to help Pakistan.
“This is a collective effort from the people in Scotland to help our brothers and sisters in Pakistan and I’m delighted to support the efforts that have been made by the community itself to help the Pakistani people.
“Scotland always responds with an open heart even in tough times. Perhaps one of the things that comes out of a disaster of this scale is that it brings people together in a common effort and that is certainly reflected in the Islamic community in Scotland.
“The holy month of Ramadan encourages Muslims to reflect on the poor and hungry throughout the world and the burden they bear. And this year’s Ramadan fast is a particularly poignant occasion for many Muslims, as we remember those in Pakistan whose lives have been left devastated.
“Charity is at the heart of Ramadan and it is heartening that people of all faiths and none, throughout Scotland, are collecting aid and continuing to raise funds for the emergency appeal.
“It’s absolutely essential that we do not forget those who are suffering from the floods and that we continue to give generously to save lives, and also provide hope to the people of Pakistan.”
The floods in Pakistan have affected over 20 million people, four times the population of Scotland.
The groups set to receive a share of the increased funding are Islamic Relief, Concern Worldwide, Christian Aid, Save the Children, the University of Glasgow, UCare Foundation, SCIAF, Mercy Corps, Oxfam, CBM, British Red Cross, Sightsavers, Healing Wounds, Islamic Centre Glasgow and Edinburgh Direct Aid.
Habib Malik, head of Islamic Relief Scotland, has seen first hand the devastating effects of the floods and welcomes the extra funding from the Scottish government.
He said: “I’m absolutely delighted. On behalf of Islamic Relief, I would like to thank the Scottish Government for this amazing gift to the flood-afflicted people of Pakistan.
“Recently we received money from the government for development work in Pakistan and today to receive the further funding for emergency work shows that the Scottish Government and the Scottish people are standing shoulder to shoulder with the flood victims in Pakistan.”
The Scottish Government has also recently donated £400,000 of development funds to projects that help communities work their way out of extreme poverty.
Mr Malik is returning to Pakistan to help deliver the much-needed aid to the country.
He said: “The purpose of my visit is to go and see the impact of the Scottish generosity. To see the difference that is making to the people in the floods.”