Tampa-area Pakistanis feel helpless as loved-ones endure flooding across the globe
TAMPA, Fla. - Pakistanis in Florida are desperate for good news from their loved ones' amidst devastating flooding in their home country.
The head of the Pakistani American Association of Tampa Bay had visited family a month ago. Now they're in a much different state after weeks of rain sent rivers overflowing.
"You can not believe these visuals," he said, as he watched videos that have been circulated on social media showing the destruction.
His loved ones are in tent cities in northern Pakistan, where 1,100 have died and over 750,000 homes have been damaged.
One-third of Pakistan is underwater, almost the same size of two Floridas.
"My concern is that what has been survived, they might die because of different diseases, so we need the help," said Bangash.
He came to Tampa Bay in 2007 and works as a tax preparer, while his daughter, Dua Bangash, graduated Strawberry Crest High School as valedictorian, and is now studying at the University of South Florida.
They have hundreds of family members in harm's way, half a world away.
Pakistani families in Tampa are worried for their loved-ones back home
"Now they are worrying about, ‘Am I going to have a bed to sleep in? Am I going to have good to eat? What is my life in the next few years?’"
Pakistan's government is unable to answer that question.
"It is beyond the capacity of any one administration or government to rehabilitate and even manage the rescue and relief," said Sherry Rahman, the country's head of climate change response.
The Bangash's are planning to make a trip to try and help in the next few months, but they have no idea what they will find.
"I believe this is a human catastrophe, this is not related to some country," said Bangash. "It can happen to anywhere in the world."
The Red Cross says the devastation reminiscent of floods in 2010 that impacted 20 million people.
They say POakistan is experiencing abnormal monsoon rainfall nearly ten times higher than usual, resulting in uncontrollable flooding.
But with homes, livestock and infrastructure wiped out, it's not going to be easy.