Psychiatrist makes a call for help with flood victim appeal

IPSWICH: A psychiatrist living in Ipswich is spearheading a fundraising initiative to raise money for victims of the floods in Pakistan.

Dr Akmal Makhdum, deputy medical director and consultant psychiatrist at Suffolk Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust, is calling for people to help raise thousands of pounds for those in his native country who are still struggling to cope with the disaster.

Dr Makhdum, pictured above, who is chairman of the board of trustees of the British Pakistani Doctors Forum (BPDF) and was the founder of the British Pakistani Psychiatrists Association, has already helped to collect more than �1,500 through the Flood Trauma Relief Initiative.

The BPDF, which was set up three years ago, is made up of 6,000 doctors with a Pakistani background who are working in the UK.

The nationwide initiative has so far raised enough money to send 400 boxes of clothing to the country, along with more than one million water cleaning tablets.

Dr Makhdum, whose daughter Saha – a pscyhotherapist in Essex – is currently in Pakistan to help out with the cause, wants to raise another �12,000 to pay for two million tablets (anti-diarrhoea and antibiotics) and water purification units.

The floods, which began in July, were the worst seen in the country for more than a century.

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More than 1,600 people died and millions still face a daily struggle to survive as they have been left homeless.

Dr Makhdum, who is originally from Pakistan and has worked at the Trust for 15 years, said: “The challenge is what is happening currently. Initially it was a crisis but now there is the potential destruction of a civil society. If the world does not wake up to this challenge, it could be disastrous.

“I have extended family and friends there, some of whom were well-to-do but are now penniless because all their homes are under water. Those who had a nice way of living are now in tents.”

On September 25, doctors from across Suffolk and Essex are gathering for a dinner to help raise more funds for the cause.

If you want to help, send cheques payable to ABPPA to the Resource Centre, Walker Close, Ipswich, IP3 8LY, or call 01473 237018 for more information.

n Are you helping out a good cause for a special reason? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail