An Oxford University student who saw a man drown in Pakistan as a result of catastrophic floods has stressed the importance of international aid.
Israr Khan, who also studied law at Aberdeen University between 2016 and 2020, returned to his native Pakistan to visit in August and plans to come back to the UK in October.
Flooding at the end of last month covered an area larger than the UK, killing nearly 1,300 people and affecting some 33 million, according to the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).
Mr Khan, who is studying for a PHD, told of the devastation in the Balochistan region of the country, which he described as “absolutely heartbreaking”.
“In my own district, three dams have collapsed and entire villages have been washed away,” he told the FCDO.
“I know people have lost their houses and livestock. Seeing them in this condition is devastating. I even saw a man drowning in water and whole villages of houses being demolished due to the flood.”
He added: “Pakistan was already reeling from an economic crisis. Balochistan is the largest geographical province in Pakistan, but also one of the most under-developed and rural areas – and now half the crops have been washed away.
“The fear is that without international help, people left without homes will begin to starve or die from water-borne diseases.”
The UK pledged £16.5 million this week to help with the crisis, including a pledge to double donations made to the Disasters Emergency Committee appeal set up to help in the aftermath of the flooding up to £5 million.
“The government of Pakistan does not have the capacity to deal with a disaster on this scale, so we need help from the international community,” Mr Khan said.
“The UK’s support will undoubtedly save lives. A disaster of this scale cannot be halted without international support and the UK is an important ally of Pakistan.