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South Asian Canadian cops begin Kashmir relief effort

On their initiative, police have begun accepting relief supplies for thousands affected by the quake in Indian subcontinent.

india Updated: Oct 21, 2005 15:07 IST

Two South Asian officers of Toronto Police are spearheading a relief fund to help the victims of the earthquake that has killed thousands in India and Pakistan and left millions homeless.

On their initiative, all police divisions have begun accepting relief supplies for thousands affected by the Oct 8 killer quake.

Constables Mansoor Ahmad and Sanjeev Nair, who mooted the effort, were overwhelmed by the support they received from all the police divisions after fellow officers asked the pair how they could help, the South Asian Observer newspaper here reported.

"People don't know where to donate or how to donate and they wanted to help," said Ahmad, a native of Pakistan. He said everyone has been touched by the tragedy.

His own most trying moment came in a telephone call to his sister who was in the quake-afflicted Kashmir region.

"Imagine Farah (Ahmad's daughter) in freezing temperatures, standing in the middle of the night in the pouring rain with no relatives," his sister told him.

"That brought tears to my eyes," said Ahmad, who originally hails from Karachi.

Nair, born in India and married to a Pakistani, said they faced some anxious moments as they tried to contact her family, who luckily escaped unscathed but emotionally scarred by the tragedy.

"They need help," said Nair, a Primary Response Unit officer who came to Canada 10 years ago. "It hits you hard - you feel what they're going through."

His family struggled to come to Canada, ending up as refugees in Kuwait during the Gulf War. "I know what it is like to be hungry and to line up for food."

The quake death toll has climbed to more than 40,000 in Pakistan and UN authorities estimate two million people are homeless as winter descends on the Himalayan region. In India, more than 1,400 people were killed.

First Published: Oct 21, 2005 11:59 IST