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Local efforts for Pakistan flood relief step up

Water floods the yards of villagers in Koth Mithan in Sindh province

Photo by Oxfam International/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Water floods the yards of villagers in Sindh province, Pakistan

Humanitarian aid has been slow to reach Pakistan nearly a month after the Indus River overflowed, ruining crops and leaving millions of people without shelter. More recent flooding has worsened the damage, and food supplies are running short.

The U.S. State Department has compiled a short list of organizations taking donations for flood relief. This afternoon at City Hall, City Council members Jan Perry and Tom LaBonge, L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca and the Pakistani-American Chamber of Commerce will join the American Red Cross to solicit donations.

More creative fundraising efforts are coming from the Los Angeles-area Pakistani immigrant community, which is estimated at around 150,000. Pakistani immigrants have been hosting community garage sales, dinners, and other grass-roots events to gather donations for flood relief. In Pasadena, a Muslim women's quilting circle will be directing proceeds from quilt sales to flood relief, and one member is hosting a sale of plants and clothing at her home this weeknd.

In Pacific Palisades, another couple is hosting a fundraising dinner Saturday with representatives from disaster relief groups. Hina Abidi, one of the hosts, said the concern is that people have donated to so many other disasters lately, such as January's Haiti earthquake, that they have "donor fatigue."

"We need more support from the outside community," Abidi said. "Pakistanis, we are a handful of families. It's not that they haven't been doing all they can, but it is not even a drop in the bucket."