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Bradford volunteers join aid convoy to Pakistan
8:00am Sunday 24th February 2013 in News
Bradfordians will join a convoy of 25 ambulances being driven 3,700 miles from the UK to Pakistan on an aid mission.
A team of 50 volunteers, including seven from the district, will set off through eight countries on April 19 to the poverty-stricken Rawalpindi district to provide the area’s first official public ambulance network.
The vehicles will serve medical centres and hospitals covering a 40-mile radius.
The scheme is a partnership between international aid agencies Muslim Hands and National Police Aid Convoys.
Assistant programmes manager Usmaan Lone, from Muslim Hands, said: “We have strong links with the Bradford community and youngsters in the past from Bradford have joined our annual trips and shall be joining us on this one too.
“The district we are delivering the ambulances to has a population of 4.5 million people and 47 per cent of this population is based in rural areas where they have no access or very little access to medical transport services.
“People at times do not have enough money to pay for the ambulances, which have an average cost of 5,000 Pakistani rupee. A working man’s wage is close to 10,000 Pakistani rupee, so you can see it is quite expensive to charter an ambulance.
“Poor people normally are at the will of good citizens or bystanders who witness the accident and take them to the hospital themselves.
“Birth-rates and pregnancies have also been affected by a lack of medical transport, with women arriving at the hospital too late or with other complications.”
On Saturday, volunteers were collecting donations towards the trip in Bradford.
Mr Lone said: “We have a large donor base within the Muslim and Pakistani community in Bradford and always get a strong response from the overall community in Bradford.”
The journey will take ten days and pass through France, Switzerland, Italy, Greece, Turkey and Iran. Each volunteer will aim to raise £3,500 for the trip.