Islamabad: Pakistan’s celebrated singer and philanthropist Hadiqa Kiani is harnessing her celebrity power to help the victims of the catastrophic floods in Pakistan that affected more than 33 million people.
Kiani has been dedicating her time to fundraising activities, disaster relief, and inspiring the people to take action to help families who have lost their loved ones, their homes, and those who have lost everything.
For some of the flood survivors in the worst-affected Balochistan province, it seemed like their prayers were answered when Kiani announced the initiative to reconstruct homes in some of the villages to help survivors rebuild their lives.
“My most recent trip to Balochistan allowed me to meet the brave people who have lost almost everything. I have now taken it as my responsibility to rebuild the villages of Rabbi, Chattar and now Tamboo,” Hadiqa Kiani said in a social media post. “Inshallah we will rebuild stronger than before with the guidance of Allah.” She shared plans to build environmentally friendly homes and sustainable brick houses for a family of around nine people.
At least 1,600 people including 579 children have lost their lives in the deadly floods since mid-June. The unprecedented monsoon rains and floods submerged one-third of Pakistan’s territory and have ruined lives, swept away roads, destroyed over two million homes, killed livestock, and wiped out crops and livelihoods. With floodwaters now slowly receding, the sheer scale of damage is being revealed and rescue workers are speeding to provide relief to the people now facing the threat of waterborne diseases, dengue fever and malaria.
Kiani has been leading humanitarian efforts through her flood relief campaign ‘Vaseela-e-Raah’ and providing urgently needed food, tents and medical supplies including anti-snake venoms in flood-affected areas. The campaign’s social media updated the list of items needed for flood relief efforts, including waterproof tents, charpai (beds), and mosquito nets as half a million people in Pakistan are homeless and living under the open sky.
Kiani has been visiting the affected regions in the provinces of Balochistan and Punjab providing comfort and relief to the victims of climate disaster. “I am doing this as a Pakistani citizen, not as a politician, not for votes or anything else. This is my civic duty, this is your civic duty. Do your part” she stressed.
Photos and videos on her social media platforms showed her hugging and comforting the women in flood-hit regions. In one of the videos, Hadiqa was seen sitting surrounded by village women who were sharing their stories of suffering due to the killer floods.
Some videos posted on Instagram showed Hadiqa Kiani and her son Naaday Ali packing relief supplies in boxes to be carried via dozens of trucks. She feels it was important to livestream the relief work on social media “to inspire other people to take action and spread the word that help is needed now.”
The singer requested her Instagram followers to do their part and contribute. “I request the people of Pakistan to step forward and help our Baloch people who are shelterless and going through the most painful time of their lives. Together we can face it and help in these catastrophic times.”
The Pakistani celebrity also extended support and helped rehabilitate the victims of the 2010 floods in Pakistan, and the 2005 earthquake which killed more than 80,000 people. “Over ten years ago I took a stand to do whatever I could to help victims of the devastating floods that plagued our northern regions in 2010” and provided food, basic supplies and medicines to victims and rebuilt homes, she said.
“It’s time we stand up again. There are thousands of families without homes, food and access to healthcare right now and they need our help,” Kiani shared.
Other celebrities also step up relief efforts
Several celebrities are helping out to collect funds, and requesting their fans to do everything possible to help their fellow citizens.
Actress Hira Mani and her husband Mani are holding fundraisers in the United States for Indus Hospital Karachi. The two actors have raised $320,000 in funds to provide support to victims and boost expand life-saving emergency aid across the country. “Pakistani is facing the worst humanitarian crisis. We are the only hope for flood victims. We all must come together and help the affected people the same way we did during the 2005 earthquake,” Hira Mani said.
Pakistani actress Resham also visited flood-hit areas in Charsadda districts and distributed food, clean water bottles and other relief items among the affected population. Singer Abrar ul Haq, director Kanwal Khoosat and comedian Shehzad Ghias Shaikh have announced to donate the proceeds from their upcoming concert, theatre play, and comedy show to flood relief efforts. Hum TV Network President Sultana Siddiqui also organised a telethon to raise funds for the flood victims.
Pakistan’s former prime minister and cricket star Imran Khan has held three telethons so far and received pledges of around Rs 13.5 billion for the relief and rehabilitation efforts. Several Pakistani individuals, relief and charity organizations have joined hands and stepped up efforts to help the flood victims.
International actors also visited Pakistani recently to shine a spotlight on the epic scale of flood devastation and to urge world leaders to take climate action.
Hollywood actress and humanitarian Angelina Jolie, visited Pakistan this week to meet people displaced by disastrous floods. “The devastation in Sindh has been shocking. In all my life, I have never seen anything like this before. Families are sleeping under open skies and have lost everything in these floods,” Jolie said after witnessing the affected regions and meeting affected women and children.
She urged the world to act on climate change before it is too late. “Climate change is not only real and it is not only coming - it is very much here. The real tragedy is that Pakistan contributes less than 1% of the world’s carbon footprint and yet millions of people have been displaced or lost loved ones. It is time for the world to wake up to this crisis and take action on climate change” said Jolie, who previously visited Pakistan to meet victims of the 2010 floods and the 2005 earthquake.
Turkish actor Celal Al, who made his mark playing the character Abdurrahman Ghazi in the popular TV series ‘Dirilis: Ertugrul’ also visited Pakistan to extend support to the flood-hit people and urged his followers to donate to flood victims via the Turkish Red Crescent. Celal brought smiles to the faces of children affected by floods during his visit to Karachi as many were overjoyed to see their favourite actor visiting them in camps.