Boxing star Khan comes out fighting for victims of floods

BOXING star Amir Khan has joined forces with aid agency Oxfam to help people caught up in the aftermath of the Pakistan floods which hit the country six months ago.

The 24-year-old held a fundraiser in De Vere Whites Hotel in his home town of Bolton to raise money to help rebuild schools in the Shahdad Kot area of Sindh, south Pakistan, and is calling on the public to make further donations to the charity.

Without that assistance, some children in the area are unlikely to be able to continue their education.

Khan visited flooded areas of Pakistan with Oxfam in September to see the extent of the devastation.

He said: "The Pakistan floods were a massive disaster and it will take time for people to rebuild their lives.

"Even today some people's fields are full of waist-high floodwater. Thousands of families are still living under canvas in the camps and the temperatures are plummeting."

He added: "We should not forget the families caught up in the floods. They still need our help to recover."

Oxfam said it is helping nearly 1.9 million people who were affected by the disaster. Swathes of land are still underwater, food prices have been rocketing as a result of shortages and a consequence of that is a rise in malnutrition across the south of the country.

Around 20 million people were affected by the floods which ravaged Pakistan from late July last year, covering around one fifth of the country, an area larger than England.

Around 1.6 million homes were destroyed or damaged and around 2.2 million hectares of crops were lost.

A United Nations appeal was launched to provide aid, but has been given just 53 per cent of the funds needed.

Neva Khan, head of Oxfam in Pakistan, said: "There is still a desperate need for funding. The growing malnutrition and rising food prices underlines just how much more needs to be done."

The floods destroyed around 10,000 schools. Today, at least a million children still do not have a school to attend.

Ms Khan added: "Oxfam and the families in these villages are hugely grateful for Amir Khan's support.

"With the schools in Shahdad Kot destroyed many parents have sent their children to work in fields but they desperately want their children to continue their education.

"Rebuilding the schools will safeguard these children's futures."

The public can donate to Oxfam's appeal for the Pakistan floods online at www.oxfam.org.uk/pakistan or by calling 0300 200 1999.