Following weeks of intense flooding in some of the world's poorest countries, Islamic Relief UK is calling on the British Muslim community to make its voice heard in the fight against the climate crisis.
Over the past two weeks countries in which the faith-inspired aid agency operates, including Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Niger, Sudan and South Sudan, have all experienced unprecedented heavy flooding.
Islamic Relief UK is now calling on supporters to not only support its emergency response fund for those affected, but to also use their voice to make change by signing a declaration from the Climate Coalition, of which Islamic Relief UK is a member, to Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
The coronavirus outbreak has scuppered plans for this year's Cop26, the UN's annual global climate change summit, which was set to take place in Glasgow in November. But with increasingly limited time to tackle climate change, the Climate Coalition is asking the British public to send a message to the government saying that we want to see the UK forge a resilient recovery for a healthy and safer world, and inspire others to follow.
The declaration tells the government that we can build back better together if we:
- Unleash a clean energy revolution that boosts jobs across the UK, making our transport, power and housing fit for the future
- Protect, restore and expand our green and wild spaces; allowing nature to thrive, taking carbon from the air and boosting the nation's health
- Leave no one behind by increasing support to those most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change at home and abroad.
Maria Zafar, Campaigns Co-ordinator at Islamic Relief UK, said:
'While we have all faced unforeseen challenges over the past seven months, we have been ever grateful to the British Muslim community for its unwavering support for our work in some of the world's poorest communities.
'However, donating to support people in times of crisis is no longer enough on its own. If climate change continues its path it will make floods and other weather-related disasters more frequent and intense in the future. The extreme floods that we are seeing today could just be the tip of the iceberg.
'Countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Niger are the hardest hit by the impacts of climate change. We need to tell governments to leave no-one behind in their economic recovery. We can build back better together if we unleash a clean energy revolution; protect, restore and expand our green and wild spaces; and leave no-one behind by supporting those most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change at home and abroad.'
Ali Shahbaz, a staff member at Islamic Relief Pakistan said:
'Flooding in Pakistan has been really bad this year. On 27 August, Karachi received the heaviest rainfall in a single day of its recorded history. People living in urban slums have seen their homes fill up with rain water.
'Long power outages and water logging -- when soil gets saturated with water -- have added to the misery of local communities. In rural areas, like Thatta and Sajawal, villagers' homes have been submerged in water, forcing people to migrate to safer areas.
'The rainfall has caused severe damages to crops and overall civic infrastructure. These unprecedented rainfalls are a clear indicator of the drastically changing climate.'
You can sign up to The Climate Coalition's declaration here
Donate to support people affected by recent flooding here
Notes to editors
In recent weeks, extreme flooding which has been linked to climate change has left:
- At least 160 people killed, and thousands more losing their homes, in Afghanistan and Pakistan;
- In Niger last week, over 281,000 people were affected by flooding which damaged thousands of homes and submerged crops;
- At least 650,000 people have been affected in South Sudan;
- In Sudan, where the country's Security and Defence Panel has declared a State of Emergency, floods have killed 99 people, injured 46 and damaged more than 100,000 homes.
This is in addition to heavy monsoon rains which have battered parts of India and Bangladesh throughout the summer.
For Bangladesh, this has been the most prolonged monsoon flooding in decades, with one third of the country estimated to be underwater in July, according to the ministry for natural disasters.
About Islamic Relief
Islamic Relief is a faith-inspired, development and humanitarian agency working to transform and save the lives of some of the most vulnerable people in over 40 countries. Islamic Relief assists people according to need and does not discriminate in any way.
Set up in Birmingham in 1984 by a group of volunteers, we have assisted over 117 million people all over the world. We're saving lives and empowering people to lift themselves out of poverty in over 40 countries -- from Bangladesh to Bosnia, Pakistan to Palestine, Kenya to Kosovo. Islamic Relief is on the ground in some of the world's most dangerous and difficult places -- including Syria and Yemen -- strengthening the most marginalised communities to withstand conflict and natural disasters and to build a brighter future. We also support vulnerable people in the UK in partnership with local charities and organisations.
Islamic Relief UK is part of the Islamic Relief Worldwide network.
For any questions or to request to interview one of our spokespeople, please contact:
- Jonaid Jilani: firstname.lastname@example.org; 07872 403534;
- Emily Wight: email@example.com; 07710 389316.