Ontarians are reaching out to help provide relief while monsoon season continues to hit parts of South Asia with devastating intensity, killing more than 1,000 people and directly affecting 40 million more.
The areas most affected by the flooding are northern India, southern Nepal and northern Bangladesh.
The flooding continued to devastate on Thursday, when a building collapsed in Mumbai, partly because the foundations were weakened by some of the heaviest rainfall seen in that city in 15 years. The accident killed at least 16 people and injured 30 more.
‘Everybody is together on this’
According to Statistics Canada, at a population of over 1.6 million, the South Asian community is the largest group of visible minorities in Canada and Ontario. They count for over seven per cent of the province’s total population.
Umesh Kumar, the president of the India Canada Association in Ottawa, has been leading a relief effort to send money and resources to families in India.
“Everybody is together on this — they aren’t thinking twice,” said Kumar.
“They lost their bikes, homes, clothes, medicine — everything. Everybody needs some kind of help, and they are counting on us.”
The association has a goal of raising $5,000, as well as collecting computers and clothing donations. The group is also looking for a pharmaceutical company in India to help distribute medicine.
Monsoon season is a yearly occurrence, which typically starts in June and ends in September, but Kumar says this period was more intense than usual.
“Some of them were thinking they could handle it, but they were not prepared for this kind of incident. This was unexpected,” Kumar said.
Clean drinking water is the priority
Matt Capobianco, the deputy director of the Toronto-based charity GlobalMedic, is helping to prepare two people who will travel to Nepal, which has over 1.7 million people in need of aid. The response team is made up of volunteers who typically have day jobs as emergency responders.
For this type of disaster, Capobianco says getting clean drinking water to families in need is the priority. The team will bring 96,000 Aquatab water purification tablets, which clean 10 litres of water each.